Bayer Leverkusen vs Hoffenheim Preview

Bayer Leverkusen joint coach Sami Hyypia has warned that the 26-point gap between his side and Hoffenheim should not be used as a gauge of what to expect when the two sides meet.

Early celebrations.

That gap would arguably have been greater had Markus Gisdol not taken over as coach of Hoffenheim a few weeks ago.

The Bundesliga strugglers have picked up four points in their last two games, going close to six but for conceding a late equaliser against Wolfsburg last weekend, and it is those two games which Hyypia prefers to look at when analysing his side's opponents.

"Since they changed their coach, they have played a bit differently," he said.

"One or two people may think it will be easy for us, but that is certainly not the case.

"He has improved the Hoffenheim team. They play with a high tempo, so we have got to be ready to counter them with our own style."

While Hoffenheim will be fighting for Bundesliga survival at the BayArena, Leverkusen have yet to secure their own objective for the season of a place in the Champions League.

Until that has been achieved, they will not be sitting back and relaxing.

"The games are reducing for us to hold onto third place and I think the best preparation is to think of the next game with full concentration," said Hyypia.

"All our strength and concentration have got to be on this game on Saturday.

"There is pressure, of course, but you have pressure for the whole season and we the coaches try to make the pressure even greater, and that is the best way to get a good game out of the team tomorrow."

The pressure is certainly on Hoffenheim, although their coach Markus Gisdol says that will not see them "curl up like hedgehogs".

"We are the outsiders in this game, but we have fulfilled this role very well in the past few weeks and if we play the way we know we can, then we can hurt Leverkusen," said defender Andreas Beck on the club's website.

Daniel Williams, David Abraham and Tobias Weis are all doubts for Hoffenheim while Stefan Kiessling's absence from training on Thursday was just a precaution and the German striker should still lead the Leverkusen attack on Saturday.

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