Schmidt: 'HSV will push us all the way'

A full house at the BayArena, a coach in a good mood and several Werkself pros set to make their comebacks: The pre-match press conference ahead of the Hamburg game sets the mood for the Bundesliga fixture on Saturday afternoon at 15.30 CET.
© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

What happened on 14 May 2016? Or, to be more precise, exactly 118 days ago? That was the date of the last competitive match at the BayArena. On the final day of last season the Werkself completed the Bundesliga campaign with a 3-2 win against Ingolstadt ahead of the summer break. That seems like an eternity ago now. Matchday two on Saturday is the opening home fixture in the new season and also the start of a frenetic run of fixtures: Seven games in three weeks are coming up. And the Werkself are ready. "We can't wait to finally get going," said Roger Schmidt full of anticipation at the press conference. "We haven't played at the BayArena for a long time. Now we definitely want to win our first home game against Hamburg SV and start the run of seven games on a winning note."

Bayer 04 have won eight of the last 10 Bundesliga games and only lost to Gladbach (twice in the league). That run also started with a 1-0 victory against HSV. Our opponents from Hamburg have used the transfer window very well and strengthened their squad in-depth, declared the head coach. "They've brought in a number of players who can make the first eleven. They will push us all the way."

The Bundesliga opener at Gladbach was followed by the first international break of the season. There was good and bad news for Bayer 04 on that front. "Whenever nineteen players are on international duty there is a high probability of one of two being injured. Unfortunately that's exactly the case with Vladlen Yurchenko and Kevin Volland," said Schmidt. "Robbie Kruse has come back with a cold and is not available. Charles Aránguiz only rejoins the team on Friday. I'll speak to him today and decide whether or not he will be in the squad."

"I assume Chicharito will be available"

The international break did have some positives: Stefan Kießling took part in full training again. As did Danny da Costa. Schmidt: “The break did both of them a power of good. Some of the international players have only done recovery work. I have a lot of people to speak to today," announced the head coach on Friday afternoon. The boss was very positive regarding Chicharito. "Chicha was able to train as usual this week. I assume he will be available." The same applies to Lars Bender. "And new signing Aleksandar Dragovic will definitely be in the squad.

There is a big question mark over Kevin Volland. "Even if it doesn't look good for Kevin Volland, with the operation on his hand only being eight days ago, we'll have a strong starting eleven and a good bench. Everything is in place for us to win the game."

© Bayer 04 Leverkusen Fussball GmbH

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