Bayer to end Wolfsburg fixture misery with hitman Hernandez help
Lee Gormley | March 31, 2016
Bayer Leverkusen v Wolfsburg
- Friday, March 25th
- Kick-off: 19:45 BST
- BayArena, Leverkusen
- Live on BT Sport ESPN
Bayer battle Wolfsburg on home soil
The race for European positions in the Bundesliga heats up this Friday night as Bayer Leverkusen host a stuttering Wolsburg side, and Roger Schmidt’s men will look to overturn a poor fixture run which has saw the club lose four successive meetings since 2014.
Bayer currently reside in sixth spot, while Dieter Hecking’s travelling outfit are struggling further down in eighth and outside the Europa League places, with the latter side having endured a hapless run of late.
Die Wolfe have won just one of their previous eight away games domestically, with Bayer having enjoyed back-to-back victories over Hamburg and Stuttgart, making them 13/5 with Coral to prevail without conceding on home soil.
Hernandez key to success
Bayer enter their remaining fixtures with Champions League also still intact and a win over their latest opponents would boost that aim massively, though Wolfsburg are 14/5 for an away success, while a share of the spoils is 5/2 to occur.
The hosts hold a potential ace in the pack though for their match-up with Die Wolfe, who earned a 2-1 reverse clash win last October, with former Manchester United frontman Javier Hernandez ready to continue his rampant streak.
Mexican marksman Hernandez was on target in that previous fixture defeat and has bagged an incredible 26 goals in all competitions for club and country this season, making him 4/1 to open proceedings this time around.
The in-form forward has been key to Leverkusen’s success this term, along with fellow attacker Karim Bellarabi, who has excelled in recent outings, and the German playmaker is 9/4 to add to his impressive nine season goals.
Towering frontman Stefan Kiessling is also a threat anytime at 13/8, with Chile international Charles Aranguiz potentially set to make his first appearance for Bayer after recovering from an Achilles tendon injury sustained only weeks after signing in August last year.
Dost and Kruse set to lead line
Germany international attacker Max Kruse recently reached double figures for the current campaign, as he bagged the winner over Borussia Monchengladbach in a 2-1 result, and the forward is 15/2 to net the game’s last goal again.
Dutch danger Bas Dost will also be a boost in the visiting frontline, with the marksman 7/4 to pounce anytime at the BayArena, while former Chelsea winger Andre Schurrle is 13/5 to get on the scoresheet.
Another German hoping to make an impact in this Friday night encounter is promising former Schalke starlet Julian Draxler, and the 22-year-old is also 13/5 to strike here, with Bruno Henrique Pinto 3/1 for a goal of his own.
Schmidt rejects exit reports
Having dropped off the pace for a Champions League in previous weeks, Bayer boss Schmidt’s future came under recent scrutiny, but the 48-year-old coach has rejected any talk of an exit ahead of this latest fixture.
“I am under contract at Bayer until 2019, and I acted from conviction when prolonging my deal [in May 2015],” Schmidt stated. “I know about the backing I have here from the hierarchy. We all have great goals.”
The under-pressure boss missed two recent clashes after being suspended for clashing with a referee during the 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in February, and his side have slipped to sixth position during his absence.
He will hope Bayer can bounce back strongly against a Wolfsburg outfit that have faced a difficult term themselves, with this crucial Bundesliga battle potentially set to have a huge say on which team rallies towards a coveted European place this entertaining campaign.