19:30 (BST); Wednesday 20th September; Olympiastadion (Berlin, Germany) BT Sport Extra
Hosts Hertha Berlin have had an up and down start to their Bundesliga campaign as they search for more consistency this time around.
So far this season, Berlin have one win at the Olympiastadion, whilst they have struggled on the road, only picking up a point.
Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, secured their first win of the season on the weekend and similarly to Hertha, they’ve struggled on the road, conceding six times. Only Köln have a leakier defence on their travels.
Both sides need the points in Week 5, but who will take the initiative?
Last time out
Hoffenheim 1-1 HERTHA BERLIN
Hertha Berlin made the journey south to Sinsheim as they looked for their first away points of the season against Hoffenheim.
Both sides were coming off Europa League matches, but Hoffenheim looked the more interested side and eventually took the lead after six minutes.
Former Hertha Berlin striker Sandro Wagner once again found the net against his former employers as he headed past Rune Jarstein.
Hertha came back into the contest and eventually levelled the scores after halftime. Marvin Plattenhardt’s perfect ball in was met by Alexander Esswein for his first Bundesliga goal since late December.
It was a fine point for Hertha Berlin and a performance they can build on.
BAYER LEVERKUSEN 4-0 Freiburg
Winless Bayer Leverkusen looked to change that stat as they welcomed Freiburg to the BayArena in Week 4. Kevin Volland opened the scoring after 20 minutes thanks to a beautiful long-range effort.
It was a sign of things to come as nine minutes later Leverkusen doubled their advantage. Charles Aránguiz’s tremendous volley from the cleared corner gave the Chilean his first goal of the season.
Moments later it was 3-0 for Leverkusen as Volland produced his second of the game; Lars Bender fired a ball across goal and the German striker tapped home from close range for his first brace since 2015.
After 86 minutes, German prospect Julian Brandt got his name on the scoresheet to secure Bayer’s first win of the season.
Hertha Berlin Lineup
Pál Dárdai rang the changes last time out with four made in Hoffenheim and we expect something similar as Hertha return to a full-strength line-up.
Vladimir Darida, Vedad Ibišević and Salomon Kalou are all set to return to the starting XI with Ondrej Duda, Fabian Lustenberger and Peter Pekarik dropping to the bench.
Mitchell Weiser played on the left of midfield, but he will return to his regular position of right back.
Bayer Leverkusen Lineup
After a win last time out at home to Freiburg, much of the same will be expected by Heiko Herrlich as they take on Berlin.
The Benders teamed up with new signing Panagiotis Retsos and that will remain the same. Kai Havertz will play an attacking role with Julian Brandt, whilst Kevin Volland leads the line.
Key Battle: Mitchell Weiser vs Karim Bellarabi
Two of the more creative players in the Bundesliga will face-off in the capital. Mitchell Weiser has become a regular with Hertha Berlin and his versatility makes him a tricky prospect for Bayer Leverkusen to defend against.
We expect him to line up at right back, but Weiser could easily play further forwards. The former Bayern junior leads Hertha in chances created with seven.
Karim Bellarabi’s career was in limbo last season as he saw his minutes on the pitch decrease when Tayfun Korkut was the manager of Bayer Leverkusen. Under Heiko Herrlich, however, we have seen a return of Bellarabi as he is hitting his stride creatively.
When Bellarabi was at his peak in the 2015/16 season under Roger Schmidt, he created 33 chances on goal and this season he is on his way to a similar total. After four games, Bellarabi has created eight chances.
Fortress at home?
Hertha Berlin are a side that likes playing on their home turf and their midweek fixture with Bayer Leverkusen will be one they look to capitalise on.
Last season, Berlin secured 37 of their 49 points at home and in the current campaign, Pál Dárdai’s side have a win and a draw to their name at the Olympiastadion.
The question remains: Can Hertha keep their home patch a fortress or will a repeat of last season’s fixture happen again?
Remember last season
We lead onto when the sides met last year, which was in the final week of the 2016/17 season. On that day, Bayer Leverkusen produced their best performance of the season and put six goals past one of the best home teams in the Bundesliga.
Apart from Chicharito leaving for West Ham and Tin Jedvaj suffering from injury, the rest of the squad will remember that great day in the capital.
Can Leverkusen produce a repeat performance on Wednesday night?
PREDICTION: Hertha Berlin 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen
This clash will be an interesting one as neither side will want to enter Week 6 with only a single win to their names.
It should be a tighter game than the 6-2 result last year and with that being said, I believe we will see goals, but neither team will break away and secure the points.
Can Hertha Berlin keep the points at home or will Bayer Leverkusen secure their first away points of the season? Let us know in the comments section below.
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