Bayer Leverkusen - Hamburger SV Preview: 'Die Werkself' face a tough task to remain in the race for a Champions League spot.

Leverkusen’ take on tenth placed Hamburg, in hopes of remaining in the race for a Champions League spot.

Bayer Leverkusen - Hamburger SV Preview: 'Die Werkself' face a tough task to remain in the race for a Champions League spot.
Image credit: VAVEL (Jonny Walsh)

After defeat in mid week to Spanish outfit Villarreal CF in the UEFA Europa League, Bayer Leverkusen are looking to bounce back and claim victory on home soil against Bruno Labbadia’s Hamburger SV side.

Labbadia’s side will be looking to make it three wins on the bounce over Leverkusen, having already claimed victory over them in their previous two meetings.

If HSV are able to do so, this will be only the second time that they have recorded three consecutive wins over ‘Die Werkself’ since 1981.

Given the recent run of yellow cards and scrappy scuffles between the two, this could be a similar affair where the odd goal will take all three points.

Key players

Inevitably, Leverkusen’s key player will be their ever influential front-man, Javier Hernandez. The Mexican has had a dream year in terms of scoring, with an incredible 23 goals in all competitions this season.

Another potential key player for Roger Schmidt’s side is Bernd Leno. The German shot-stopper is bound to be busy Sunday afternoon, with many of Leverkusen’s regular starting back four ruled out of the game through injury.  A big performance from him will certainly be needed if ‘Die Werkself’ are to take all three points.

There is only one man you will need to keep your eyes on this weekend on Hamburg’s end. After his brace against Hertha BSC, Nicolai Müller is in fine form and will certainly be looking to put in another fine performance this week against Leverkusen.

Lewis Holtby could also play a key part in the game, well known for his pin-point passing he will be a constant threat to the Leverkusen backline, trying to play through balls to Müller, Pierre-Michael Lasogga and co. all throughout the game.

Can Calhanoglu inspire Leverkusen to a much-needed win in a high pressure game? | Image source: kicker.
Can Calhanoglu inspire Leverkusen to a much-needed win in a high pressure game? | Image source: kicker.

Team news

Leverkusen will be without plenty of regular starters, including: Roberto Hilbert (broken collarbone), Lars Bender (thigh) and Kevin Kampl (fractured fibula).

The availability of Jonathan Tah, Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Omer Toprak is still unknown, with all of them having taken part in light training sessions.

Hamburg also have some absentees: Ashton Götz (hamstring), Batuhan Altintas (fractured cheekbone) and Philipp Müller (shoulder) have all been ruled out of the game, with Cleber also a doubt to play ahead in the tussle.