Bundesliga Preview: Bayer Leverkusen v Hoffenheim
Robin Dutt will be hoping to avoid having to come from behind as his team have been forced to do in their previous two matches
By Stephen Crawford
Castro, Reinartz, Freidrich, Kadlec
Sam, Ballack, Schurrle
Beck, Vorsah, Compper, Braafheid
Williams, Rudy, Salihovic
Mlapa, Ibisevic, Babel
Tranquillo Barnetta and Rene Adler are still out following knee surgery and are not expected back until January. Omer Toprak is also out, having fell awkwardly on his pelvis in Saturday's game against Hertha Berlin, and could be out for up to two weeks. Stefan Reinartz should take his place at centre-back.
On a more positive note, striker Eren Derdiyok's stunning form of late should see him keep his place in the starting XI for the hosts.
Chinedu Obasi and Roberto Firmino have been dropped from the squad after showing up late for training. Club general manager Ernst Tanner and coach Holger Stanislawski have agreed to suspend the pair, as this is said to be the latest offence in a long list from the duo.
Two talented players down, and still looking for his preferred formation, Stanislawski's only good news is that skipper Andreas Beck will return to action after serving his cumulative yellow card suspension.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Suspended Roberto Firmino is Hoffenheim's top scorer with five goals, on par with Bayer's in-form striker Eren Derdiyok.
- Despite being purchased as a defensive player, USA international Fabian Johnson's attacking eye has seen him rack up an impressive five assists for his new club.
- Both Hanno Balitch and Michael Ballack have four yellow cards going into Friday's clash. One more for either player will see them suspended for their following match.
- Hoffenheim's last win was over a month ago, a 2-1 home win in the DFB Pokal against Koln. More worryingly, Stanislawski's men have lost their last four away games in the Bundesliga.
- Bayer Leverkusen have never lost to Hoffenheim since the Sinsheim club's arrival in the Bundesliga three years ago.
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Top 3 Predictions
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2-0 Hoffenheim
- 32.78 %
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 3-1 Hoffenheim
- 14.57 %
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 3-0 Hoffenheim
- 11.92 %
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Oct 18, 2013||Hoffenheim 1 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Apr 20, 2013||Bayer 04 Leverkusen 5 - Hoffenheim 0|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Nov 25, 2012||Hoffenheim 1 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Apr 21, 2012||Hoffenheim 0 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Dec 2, 2011||Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2 - Hoffenheim 0|
|Bayer 04 Leverkusen|
|Dec 10, 2013||Real Sociedad 0 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1||UCL|
|Dec 7, 2013||Borussia Dortmund 0 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 1||GER1|
|Dec 4, 2013||SC Freiburg 1 - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2||GERC|
|Nov 30, 2013||Bayer 04 Leverkusen 3 - Nürnberg 0||GER1|
|Nov 27, 2013||Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0 - Man Utd. 5||UCL|
|22||Peniel Kokou Mlapa||Striker|
The Swiss striker has netted four goals in his last two games, and will undoubtedly be looking to keep up the good form to bag himself a starting berth when the Champions League comes back around.
As mentioned, the American has a keen eye for a pass, but is largely a defensive player. Expect Johnson to cover a lot of ground against a superior Bundesliga side.
Bayer need a solid win to get some momentum going and keep their heads above the rest of the Bundesliga pack that are chasing a place in Europe - what better place to it than at the BayArena, and what better team to do it against than an ailing Hoffenheim side?
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed