Hertha vs Bayer Leverkusen- Saturday 14:30BST/15:30CEST – Olympiastadion, Berlin.
It will be all or nothing for Hertha Berlin when they host Bayer Leverkusen on matchday 34. With one matchday to go in the Bundesliga Hertha are sitting in fifth, which would guarantee them a spot in the Europa League group stage next season.
The club from the capital, however, is just three points ahead of seventh-placed 1.FC Köln, who also have the better goal differential, and a defeat on Saturday could see them drop to the seventh spot. Last season Hertha failed to nail down the direct qualification for the Europa League, which meant that the club had to go through the qualification stages of the tournament, where the Danish club Brøndby eliminated them.
Hertha, therefore, need to win against Bayer to secure their spot in the group stage. In recent years Hertha have struggled against Bayer Leverkusen, but there are some good reasons to be optimistic this year.
On Wednesday Marvin Plattenhardt was nominated for the Germany squad that will travel to Russia to play at the Confederations Cup. He is Hertha’s first national team player since Arne Friedrich left the club in 2010. Furthermore, the weather in Berlin is fantastic at the moment, and the club is expecting a full house for the club’s final game at the Olympiastadion this season.
The stage is therefore set for Hertha to make the final step towards Europe. For Bayer in the meantime, the season cannot end fast enough. On Saturday the club revealed that they would part ways with head coach Tayfun Korkut, and with Bayer missing out on international football there will be several players leaving as well. Bayer will, therefore, enter a period in which they will have to rebuild, and with the club fighting on different fronts of the pitch the game against Hertha will become just a side note to a lost season.
Hertha vs Bayer Leverkusen – Players to look out for:
Marvin Plattenhardt #21 – Hertha Berlin
Marvin Plattenhardt is Hertha’s first national team player since Arne Friedrich left the club in 2010. A versatile defender Plattenhardt was called up to represent Germany at the Confederations Cup in Russia this summer. Signed from 1.FC Nürnberg in 2014 Plattenhardt has developed into a solid left-back for Hertha over the last three seasons. Equipped with a thunderous left-shot Plattenhardt is excellent at free kicks. In 26 games this season Plattenhardt scored three goals, and four assists, including a free-kick goal against Borussia Dortmund. Reaching the Europa League with Hertha would provide the next step for Plattenhardt, who will now want to nail down a spot in Joachim Löw’s squad for Russia 2018.
Julian Brandt #19 – Bayer Leverkusen
The game against Hertha could be Julian Brandt’s last game for Bayer Leverkusen. The Bayer Leverkusen star has been heavily linked with a move away from the club. Earlier in April reports had him sign for Bayern München, but the latest indication is that Brandt will leave Germany, and sign for a club abroad. Nominated by Joachim Löw to represent Germany in Russia this summer Brandt has scored three goals, and nine assists, in 31 Bundesliga games this season. The 21-year-old winger provided one of the few positive aspects in what has been a difficult season for his club.
Hertha vs Bayer Leverkusen – Match Stats
- Not a single Hertha player has a positive record against Bayer.
- Ibisević has lost eleven matches against Bayer despite the fact that he has scored seven times against Leverkusen.
- Both teams have scored their last four goals with headers.
- Hertha’s record at home against Bayer is W5 D7 L8
Prediction: Hertha vs Bayer Leverkusen 3-1
Jarstein – Pekarik, Langkamp, Brooks, Plattenhardt – Darida, Stark – Weiser, Haraguchi – Ibisević, Kalou
Coach: Pal Dardai
Leno – Henrichs, Tah, Jedvaj, Wendell – Baumgartlinger, Aranguiz – Havertz, Brandt – Chicharito, Kießling
Coach: Tayfun Korkut