Bayer Leverkusen vs Hoffenheim: Preview and Prediction

Bayer Leverkusen will look to take a step closer to the Bundesliga title when they host Hoffenheim at BayArena on Saturday.

The 2023/24 Bundesliga season is approaching its business end, with Matchday 27 kicking off on Saturday. The latest round of fixtures kick-starts with five subsequent games, one of which will see Bayer Leverkusen welcoming Hoffenheim to BayArena.

Bayer Leverkusen fans could not have foreseen such an impeccable campaign in their wildest dreams. Xabi Alonso’s men have been imperious throughout the 2023/24 season, with Die Werkself yet to lose a game in any competition thus far. The table-toppers have a comfortable lead atop the standings, with defending champions Bayern Munich ten points behind them.

As for Hoffenheim, they have been mired in mediocrity for a long time. Long gone are the days when Die Kraichgauer vied for European qualification. They have finished in the mid-table positions in the last three seasons and are eighth in the standings heading into Matchday 27. Meanwhile, Pellegrini Matarazzo’s men have lost their two most recent league games.

The reverse fixture saw Bayer Leverkusen eke out a narrow 3-2 win over Hoffenheim, with Alejandro Grimaldo scoring the match-winning goal. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

Bayer Leverkusen

Xabi Alonso has a few pressing injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against Hoffenheim on Saturday, the Bayer Leverkusen manager will be bereft of the services of four first-team players.

Jonas Hofmann (hip), Exequiel Palacios (muscular), and Victor Boniface (groin) are the most notable absentees, with the trio unavailable for the weekend. In addition, Arthur remains on the sidelines due to his hamstring injury.

Lukas Hradecky will take his usual spot between the sticks, with Bayer Leverkusen lining up in a 3-4-2-1 formation in front of him against Hoffenheim. The central defensive trifecta should feature Josip Stanisic, Jonathan Tah, and Piero Hincapie. Jeremie Frimpong and Alejandro Grimaldo will continue as the two wing-backs, with the duo posing the greatest threat in the final third.

As for the midfield unit, Robert Andrich should deputise for the injured Palacios, joining Granit Xhaka in the middle of the park. Amine Adli and Florian Wirtz should play behind the central striker, with Patrik Schick filling in for Boniface as the centre-forward.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Hradecky; Stanisic, Tah, Hincapie; Frimpong, Andrich, Xhaka, Grimaldo; Adli, Wirtz; Schick


Like his counterpart in the Bayer Leverkusen dugout, Pellegrino Matarazzo has a few issues to deal with ahead of the trip to BayArena. The Hoffenheim manager might be without as many as four first-team players on Saturday.

John Brooks serves a suspension and is the most notable absentee. Meanwhile, Matarazzo is sweating over the fitness of Florian Grillitsch (knock). Meanwhile, Marco John and Mergim Berisha are in the treatment room due to their respective knee injuries.

Hoffenheim will line up in a 3-4-1-2 formation against Bayer Leverkusen, with Oliver Baumann taking his spot between the sticks. The central defensive trio should consist of Kevin Akpoguma, Ozan Kabak, and Stanley Nsoki. Pavel Kaderabek and David Jurasek should be the two wing-backs, with the duo contributing on both ends of the pitch.

As for the midfield unit, Anton Stach and Umut Tohumcu should pair up in the double of the park. The duo will look to keep things tight and initiate quick transitions. Andrej Kramaric will play behind the two strikers, with Maximilian Beier and Ihlas Bebou partnering up in the final third.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Baumann; Akpoguma, Kabak, Nsoki; Kaderabek, Stach, Tohumcu, Jurasek; Kramaric; Bebou, Beier

Key Stats

  • Since Hoffenheim returned to the Bundesliga in the 2008/09 season, Bayer Leverkusen have beaten no other team more than Die Kraichgauer (18 times).
  • Xabi Alonso will take charge of his first home game against Hoffenheim. The table-toppers had won only one of their last seven matches at BayArena against Hoffenheim under their previous four managers.
  • Bayer Leverkusen’s 22 league wins are already a new club record for an entire Bundesliga season, one more than Bayern Munich managed last term.
  • Hoffenheim have gone 21 games without a clean sheet, the longest run in the Bundesliga. Oliver Baumann has managed only one shutout this term; Lukas Hradecky tops the league with 12.
  • Hoffenheim last beat a league leader in September 2020 (4-1 against Bayern Munich). There has not been a home win in the last six meetings between Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen.

Player to Watch

Florian Wirtz

Embed from Getty Images

The two wing-backs are the stars of the show for Bayer Leverkusen, but Florian Wirtz is not too far behind them. The German international has done exceedingly well since returning from his layoff, showing no signs of the long-term injury impacting his performance.

Only Alejandro Grimaldo and Leroy Sane have more assists than Wirtz in the German top flight this season, with the youngster effortlessly pulling the strings in the final third. Xabi Alonso needs Wirtz to continue on his merry run for a few more weeks as the Spaniard’s charges inch closer to the Bundesliga title.


Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Hoffenheim

The last six meetings between Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim have not seen the home team emerging victorious. But that streak can only continue if the visitors somehow hold Die Werkself to a draw. However, the gulf in quality will be visible this weekend, with Hoffenheim’s clean sheet drought continuing.

Florian Wirtz and Patrik Schick should enjoy excellent outings in the final third, with the two wing-backs running riot. Meanwhile, Hoffenheim will only manage a consolation goal due to Bayer Leverkusen’s defensive vulnerabilities. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-1 win for Xabi Alonso and his charges.

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