Tuesday 15 Aug

Hoffenheim vs Liverpool - Match preview

13 Aug 2017 Ed Mackey INTERNATIONAL CLUBS: UEFA Champions League, Qualification
INTERNATIONAL CLUBS: UEFA Champions League, Qualification

1899 Hoffenheim

  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

vs

Kick-off
18:45 GMT
15 August 2017

Liverpool FC

  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D

Kick-off
18:45 GMT 15 August 2017

Premier League football has returned after a long summer without it and we already know that Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United will be playing Champions League football. But whether Liverpool will join Europe’s elite relies on their play-off tie against German outfit, Hoffenheim. The Bundesliga season hasn’t started as it kicks off next weekend so the first leg of this play-off will be Hoffenheim’s first meaningful fixture of the season. Liverpool travel to Germany for the first leg before hosting the second leg at Anfield next week.

STATS

  • After creating a gap of more than 10 points between themselves and 5th-placed Koln last season, Hoffenheim were able to ease off towards the end of the campaign. They finished with two wins in their last five games as well as two draws and a loss against an Aubameyang-inspired Borussia Dortmund side. They began their season this week with a narrow 1-0 win over Erfurt in the first round of the DFB Cup.
  • Liverpool just squeezed into the final top four place on the final day of last season but they have started this one poorly after just one game. Their first league game ended all square as they conceded an injury time equaliser to make the score 3-3 against Watford. They finished last term with three wins from their last five and scored seven goals in their final two without conceding.
  • Former Leicester City forward, Andrej Kramaric had a brilliant campaign for Hoffenheim as he hit the back of the net 15 times while setting up eight goals for his team-mates. This made him one of the best players in Germany and he’ll be hoping to carry on this form.
  • The frontline of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah is deadly for Liverpool and all three of them managed a goal against Watford. They will be vital for the Reds’ European hopes.

HEAD TO HEAD

The two sides have never faced each other in European competition. The two-legged affair will be the first time they have met and both teams will be itching to get the first win.

HOFFENHEIM NEWS

Preparations for the new Bundesliga season have gone very well for Hoffenheim and they have no injuries to worry about after a good pre-season. They will be looking to use this to their advantage. They have signed a few new players while only losing one player that was considered a first-teamer: Niklas Sule to Bayern Munich. They filled that void with the signing with Havard Nordveit from West Ham.

Latest matches: 1899 Hoffenheim

12.08.2017 DFB RW Erfurt 1899 Hoffenheim 0:1 W
05.08.2017 Club 1899 Hoffenheim Bologna FC 3:0 W
29.07.2017 Club Derby County 1899 Hoffenheim 1:2 W
22.07.2017 Club 1899 Hoffenheim Genoa FC 2:3 L
15.07.2017 Tele Monchengladbach 1899 Hoffenheim 5:6 W

LIVERPOOL NEWS

The big news coming from Merseyside is the transfer request of Phillipe Coutinho who is forcing through a move to Spanish giants, Barcelona. He looks destined to leave while Virgil van Dijk looks like he will be arriving at Anfield after handing in a request of his own at Southampton. Adam Lallana is unavailable for the game with an injury while Daniel Sturridge and Nathaniel Clyne may both return for the clash.

Latest matches: Liverpool FC

12.08.2017 Prem Watford FC Liverpool FC 3:3 D
05.08.2017 Club Liverpool FC Athletic Bilbao 3:1 W
02.08.2017 Audi Atletico Madrid Liverpool FC 6:5 L
01.08.2017 Audi Bayern Munich Liverpool FC 0:3 W
29.07.2017 Club Hertha BSC Liverpool FC 0:3 W

SUMMARY

It has all the makings to be a very tight game in this first leg and although Liverpool are slight favourites to go through to the group stages over both legs, a draw is probably the most realistic prediction for the first of the two legs. Liverpool’s defensive frailties will be exploited by Hoffenheim’s fast-moving attack while their attack will be too hot for the German side to handle.

About the author - Ed Mackey

Experienced sports writer and huge Leicester City fan.

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