Friday, September 22, 2017

Prediction: Hoffenheim vs Liverpool

Verdict: Hoffenheim Draw no bet

Best Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: bet365

Chances are both teams were cursing their luck after the Champions League play-off draw as they must have been hoping for an easier road to the group stages. And while many see Liverpool as the favourites to go through, Julian Nagelsmann’s men should by no means be underestimated.

Hoffenheim

Led by arguably one of world’s most talented coaches and by far the youngest tactician in the Bundesliga, Hoffenheim enjoyed a great deal of success last season, finishing the campaign in fourth place. However, the somewhat poor finish could cost them dearly now as it saw Dortmund pip them to the final automatic Champions League berth, meaning that TSG will now have to defeat Liverpool if they want to reach the group stages. The squad didn’t suffer too many changes over the summer, although key men Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Sule both joined Bayern Munich, while in came Serge Gnabry, Havard Nordtveit, Robert Zulj, Florian Grillitsch and Nico Schulz. Hoffenheim did well in pre-season, defeating Standard Liege (4-2), Derby County (2-1) and Bologna (3-0), before beating Rot Weiss Erfurt (1-0) in the opening fixture of the DFB Pokal. Julian Nagelsmann’s side did not impress in the first competitive match of the season, but they did get 90 minutes under their belt ahead of the all-important double header against Liverpool.

Team News

Julian Nagelsmann will make some changes to the side that defeated Rot Weiss Erfurt, with Serge Gnabry and Oliver Baumann expected to be drafted in.

Liverpool

Liverpool did well to pip Arsenal and Manchester United to the final Champions League berth, but they eventually finished in fourth place, missing out on automatic qualifying spot. The club was surprisingly quiet in the summer transfer window, with Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson and Dominic Solanke the only three players to join. Meanwhile, Lucas Leiva and Andre Wisdom were sold, but the biggest problem at the moment is Barcelona’s interest in Philippe Coutinho. Despite Liverpool being adamant the Brazilian was not for sale and also rejecting several lucrative offers, Coutinho appears determined to move to Camp Nou, and his situation is definitely affecting the dressing room atmosphere. The Reds didn’t have such a good start to the season as they could only muster a 3-3 draw with Watford, missing out on an excellent opportunity to record a valuable win thanks to some shocking defensive mistakes. It is now clear that Jurgen Klopp has utterly failed to sort out defensive issues and those could end up costing Liverpool dearly this season.

Team News

Key midfielders Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana continue to miss out, whereas Daniel Sturridge and Nathaniel Clyne are rated doubtful.

Key Factors to Consider

  • This will be Hoffenheim’s first ever European game
  • Liverpool are unbeaten in last six vs German teams
  • However, they only won 2 of 16 matches in Germany (D8 L4)
  • The Reds chasing the tenth appearance in Champions League group stages
  • Liverpool won just one of last 12 away games in Europe D6 L5)

Conclusion

While Hoffenheim lack European experience, they appear well prepared for the Liverpool game, unlike the opposition, who are definitely not in the best shape and also missing two key men. Therefore, we expect TSG to take advantage of Liverpool’s shaky back line and create an advantage ahead of the return match.

Verdict: Hoffenheim Draw no bet

Best Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: bet365

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