Summary

  • 'Chicharito' has scored 17 Bundesliga goals in 26 league outings this season.
  • Leverkusen face Hertha this weekend in a direct duel for third place.
  • Schmidt hails 'Chicharito's' intelligence, movement and nose for goal.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen head coach Roger Schmidt has heaped praise on forward Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez, citing his intelligence and nose for goal as two of his principal qualities.

Leverkusen host Hertha Berlin on Matchday 32 on Saturday eager to cement their place in third and the accompanying automatic berth in next season's UEFA Champions League group stage. Hertha are five points behind in fourth, so Die Werkself will be looking to 'Chicharito' to add to his tally of 17 Bundesliga goals this term in an effort to keep their visitors at arm's length.

"'Chicharito' is very important to the team because he's a player with extraordinary ability," Schmidt said in an interview with the club's in-house television station. "As an attacker he's very intelligent at getting into position, creating space and freeing up room for his team-mates, but is also always available to receive the ball. On top of that, he has a knack for finding the most dangerous position to score a goal."

Schmidt, who saw the Mexico international score the winner over FC Schalke 04 last weekend, added: "He works really hard for the team, as he showed on Saturday, fighting until the end when we took a 3-2 lead. He's also a great support defensively. There's an aspect to our play, both defensively and offensively and 'Chicharito' does this very well. You could see this in that third goal he scored on Saturday after an 80-metre sprint."