Checking out the top sportsbook sites (see our online sportsbook reviews here) it is clear that Bayer Leverkusen are rated as big favorites to win this game. The home team are a short priced -149 with some bookmakers, while Hoffenheim are priced around at +360. Draw backers, meanwhile, can get odds of anywhere between +320 and +340, depending on which site you use.
Leverkusen haven’t won a trophy since the German Cup in 1993, but there was plenty of optimism around the BayArena this summer after their third-placed finish last time. Sadly, they’ve had a nightmare start to the season and go into this game bottom of the Bundesliga.
Losing 1-0 to Dortmund in their Bundesliga opener was disappointing, not least because coach Gerardo Seoane would have wanted to strike an early blow against one of Leverkusen’s closest rivals for the top three, but it wasn’t a disaster in itself.
However, prior to that game, Leverkusen had suffered an ignominious defeat in the German Cup to lowly SV Elverseberg. They then followed up their Dortmund defeat with a home loss to Augsburg, in which they struggled to create anything in the first half and were unable to force even a point in the second. It is early days but Seoane and his players are already under more pressure than anticipated.
The Bundesliga is often action packed and the Hoffenheim supporters have had their share of entertainment already in a dramatic start. Against Borussia Monchengladbach they had Stefan Posch was dismissed after only 18 minutes. Despite this, they took the lead and matched the hosts until the final 20 minutes, eventually going down 3-1.
They also started slow against Bochum last weekend, conceding twice in the opening twelve minutes. But within ten minutes they were level and although they missed a second-half penalty, they kept pushing for the winner, which came three minutes from time. They are once again looking unpredictable after a disorganized end to the 2021–22 season, but there is plenty of potential for coach Andre Breitenreiter to work with.
Going into the weekend round of games, the team news for Leverkusen is not promising. Andrey Lunev, will be out with a hamstring injury, although Lukas Hradecky will be back in the lineup after serving a one-match suspension for his red card in the opening encounter against Dortmund.
After starting against Augsburg, Sardar Azmoun is likely to continue as Florian Wirtz won’t be fully recovered from a cruciate ligament rupture for at least another month.
Robert Andrich, who plays as a central midfielder, is also sidelined after suffering an injury in the first game of the season and this week, two more players were added to the injured list. Karim Bellarabi, a wide attacker, tore his meniscus and will likely be out until the end of September, adding to Seoane’s selection difficulties, while Amine Adli, another wide player, fractured his clavicle at the weekend.
For the visitors, Posch will be available for selection following his suspension, therefore Breitenreiter must decide whether to start Stanley Nsoki alongside Ozan Kabak and Kevin Vogt. Philipp Pentke, a backup goalie, had bursitis this week and won’t be on the bench for this one. .
Ihlas Bebou, a center-forward, Benjamin Hubner, and Ermin Bicakcic, who are both defenders, are still out due to injuries sustained during preseason practice, although central midfielders Dennis Geiger and Angelo Stiller could return this weekend.
Bayer Leverkusen and Hoffenheim were both widely expected to perform at least as well as they did last season after finishing third and ninth, respectively. Some analysts even predicted that Leverkusen might be able to challenge for second place and that Hoffenheim might be a contender for the Europa League.
Both of those scenarios are still possible but neither team has looked secure so far. Leverkusen fans in particular will have been alarmed by the Augsburg defeat, even if they had been prepared to overlook the earlier embarrassing Cup exit and in an ultra-competitive league, they can’t afford to fall too far behind in the opening weeks.
The depletion in their attacking resources is particularly worrying ahead of this game, given how unpredictable Hoffenheim can be. The visitors have already scored four and conceded five, and Leverkusen cannot afford to underestimate them here. The home side are the better team, but the draw looks overpriced in this game and is the best betting pick.
CTA Draw Bayer Leverkusen v Hoffenheim +365 BetOnline
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