After starting the season dismally, with two defeats out of the two matches – zero points and at the bottom of the Bundesliga – Leverkusen will host 8th-placed Hoffenheim on match-day three of the season at the Bay Arena on Saturday at 14:30GMT. Hoffenheim will be looking to make it two wins in a row, while Leverkusen will be seeking their first win of the season.
Can Leverkusen Register their first win of the season on Saturday?
Gerardo Seoane will be bitterly disappointed with his team’s form and the start they have made to the new season. However, the Swiss will be looking steady at Leverkusen’s form ahead of the home clash with Hoffenheim on Saturday.
After losing 1-0 against Dortmund, with a man sent off, Leverkusen followed that loss up with a 2-1 reverse at home against Augsburg.
Gerardo Seoane will focus on tightening his defensive phase of the team even as he seeks to bolster their attacking threat.
The gaffer will be aware of Hoffenheim’s threat, especially in transitions. Therefore, the team’s shape and the players’ work rate will be crucial in helping Leverkusen register their first point(s) of the season.
Can Hoffenheim make it two wins in a row in the Bundesliga?
After opening day 3-1 loss to Monchengladbach, Hoffenheim rallied and won the next match at home against Bochum, which ended in an eventful 3-2 triumph.
André Breitenreiter will focus on keeping the winning run going when he faces winless Leverkusen on Saturday. However, he will be aware of the caliber of Leverkusen, who fished 3rd on the Bundesliga table last season.
The focus of Hoffenheim will be on bolstering their form as they face a tricky future against a team that has not shown true ability yet this season, given the nightmare start they have had with two straight losses.
Leverkusen started the season with a 1-0 reverse against Dortmund. Marco Reus scored against them in the 10th minute, and Leverkusen could not find a reply. Their frustration was displayed when Lukas Hradecky was sent off in the 92n minute of the match with his tea headed for defeat on opening day.
The second match ended in a disappointing 1-2 loss to Augsburg. Leverkusen went behind through a Fredrik Jensen goal in the 15th minute before equalizing through Charles Aranguiz in the 43rd minute. However, they fell behind in the 82nd minute and could not recover.
Leverkusen will focus on getting the job done against Hoffenheim and getting their season underway with their first win in the third attempt of the Bundesliga campaign.
Hoffenheim started the season with a 3-1 reverse against in-form Monchengladbach; this match highlighted challenges in defense, attack, and midfield. Hoffenheim could not keep the ball or construct attacking sequences to trouble Monchengladbach.
The same challenges were displayed in the 3-2 win over Bochum. Although the team scored three goals, they also conceded twice, which could have cost them the points on another day.
The team will be looking to retain its attacking verve while fixing its defensive weaknesses. This will be crucial in the clash with Leverkusen, who will be desperate to get their first win of the season on board.
Possible Starting Lineups
Lunyov; J. Frimpong, J. Tah, E. Tapsoba, M. Bakker; C. Aranguiz, E. Palacios; M. Diaby, S. Azmoun, A. Hlozek; P. Schick
Baumann; O. Kabak, K. Vogt, S. Nsoki; R. Skov, G. Promel, D. Geiger, C. Baumgartner, J. Tasende; J. Larsen, A. Kramaric
Players to Watch
The 26-year-old Czech international has not scored in the Bundesliga in the first two matches of this campaign. However, he notched in the DFB Pokal, demonstrating his lethal nature in and around the box.
Schick will be crucial for Leverkusen as they seek to re-find their form and kick start their season after they started horribly with two losses out of two.
His pace, work rate, and potency in front of goal are important assets for Leverkusen. Schick is adept at combining well with other attacking players and midfielders with his passing and runs.
The Croatian forward is yet to notch a goal for Hoffenheim this season in the two matches he has played. However, he has demonstrated the quality and presence to cause defenses problems in the Bundesliga.
His physical presence up front, pace, movement and link-up play with their Hoffenheim attacking players are crucial tools for the team to create chances and score them.
Kramaric will be crucial for Hoffenheim in the match against Leverkusen as they seek to make it two wins in a row.
Leverkusen will look to play with intensity, energy, and speed. They will seek to press across the pitch, win the ball high, and pose a danger to the opposition’s defense.
Hoffenheim will look to maintain most of their forward threat by building patiently from the back and pressing in midfield. They will focus on thwarting transitions from Leverkusen and counter-pressing to create chances.
Leverkusen have enough quality to win this match and get their first three points of the season.
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