We are heading to the BayArena this weekend to take on Bayer Leverkusen and their high powered squad. Now sitting at third in the table they are still an insane 13 points behind us. After hammering this team 3-0 last time around with even Jonas Hoffman scoring, we may have Bayer's number this year. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't take this team lightly. Bayer has been one of the best teams in the Bundesliga all season, and now with Hertha falling off their Hirunde form, they look to secure their place in the three spot.
Bayer is a team filled with quality and for proof look no further than their elite midfield. Easily sporting the third best midfield in the Bundesliga, Bayer's four man midfield have terrorized teams throughout Germany and Europe this season. Karim Bellarabi, who is one of Bayer's star players is a dangerous wing player with a cannon for a leg. scoring a total of 6 goals in the season in all competitions, he is a constant threat and will prove a huge challenge to our holding midfielders. The other huge threat in the Bayer midfield is the Hakan Calhanoglu, whom most people know has the best free kick taker in Europe. In addition to his speed and on ball skills, our biggest worry with him this game is gonna be every free kick Bayer get near goal. As for the other two midfielders Bayer is most likely going to play it will most likely be Kevin Kampl and Admir Mehmedi, two quality midfielders who have given us trouble in the past.
Bayer has one of the better attacks in the Bundesliga, mostly thanks to their summer pickup Mexican National Team star Chicharito. Unfortunately for Bayer, Chicharito is out for the month with a muscle tear and will not be playing against us in the sunday fixture. Unfortunately for us, Bayer's other striker Stefan Kiesling has found his scoring form again and is proving to be just as dangerous as ever. With youngster Julian Brandt filling in for Chicharito, this attack will still cause us some problems.
While most people may think Bayer has a terrible defense, due mostly to their games were they tend to give up 3 or 4 goals, their defence is actually second best in the league, two goals better than us. Their center back pairing will most likely be Jonathan Tah and Omer Toprak, both of whom can be the best CB pairing in the league on a given day if they choose to. Lets hope that its a give up four goal kind of day instead of a give up 4 shots kind of day.
As for our team we are coming off an ok win against Porto at home in the champions league. Guendogan and Weidenfeller are still sick but Sven Bender is back in the squad. Since so many of our guys are on two days rest I'd expect to see some key substitutions throughout the lineups. Not sure if we'll see start Sahin again as he is still just coming off two days of rest, so Castro will probably start in his place. Also Reus may be getting some rest after getting roughed up in the next game, if so expect to see Castro or Kagawa taking that spot on the wing and Sven Bender or Ginter playing in the holding midfield position with Weigl. The defensive option would make sense as Bayer likes to play fast and high up the field, so Ginter or Bender would help a lot with that midfield pressure bearing down on us as well as helping us break in the counter.
What do you guys think lineups and results will be?