TSG 1899 Hoffenheim – Bayer 04 Leverkusen: Belfodil And Friends Expose Leverkusen’s Poor Counterpressing (4-1)
TSG Hoffenheim were able to beat Leverkusen 4-1, exactly the same score as in the first meeting. Julian Nagelsmann chose a strategy that mostly relied on counterattacks, and switched to a line of four in defense. Bayer Leverkusen showed the same issues as they have in recent weeks, and were caught in transition multiple times throughout the match.
Tactical analysis and match report by Max Bergmann.
Leverkusen suffered a setback with their defeat against Bremen and were therefore obliged to win further points to help secure their European qualification spot. Hoffenheim on the other hand, suffered a loss of points due to numerous draws throughout the season. To keep their chance on qualifying for a European competition alive, winning against direct opponent Leverkusen seemed to be their last chance.
After playing with a back three in recent games, Hoffenheim utilized a 4-3-3 formation here. Manager Julian Nagelsmann missed his left wing-back Nico Schulz due to a suspension. The German international was replaced by left back Joshua Brenet while Kevin Vogt and Benjamin Hübner played as central defenders. In midfield, Kerem Demirbay and Leonardo Bittencourt played alongside single pivot Florian Grillitsch. Up front, Nagelsmann chose to line up Joelinton and Ishak Belfodil, who flanked striker Andrej Kramarić.
Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz set his team up in his typical 4-3-3 formation. Left back Tin Jedvaj replaced the suspended Wendell, next to Sven Bender who played as a center-back next to Jonathan Tah. Number six Julian Baumgartlinger was tasked to support the back four during the build-up. The nominal attacking quintet was again fielded to fill in the five . . .