Hoffenheim vs Liverpool
2017/18 UEFA Champions League Play-off
Date: Tuesday, 15th August 2017
Kick-off at 19:45 UK/ 20:45 CET
Venue: Rhein-Neckar-Arena (Sinsheim).
TSG Hoffenheim are making their debut at the Champions League qualifiers. But they couldn’t have hoped for a tougher opponent than Premier League’s FC Liverpool.
Hoffenheim achieved their best ever finish in Bundesliga last season under the tutelage of youngest Bundesliga coach Julian Nagelsmann. The massive rise in stake could pile pressure on the 30-year old as many would expect him to replicate last season’s success.
Nagelsmann passed the first hurdle in going forward by retaining most of his key players. However, the only notable exit, Niklas Sule will be missed at the heart of the defense.
Liverpool were title contented for majority of last season. But they fell off in the last quarter of the campaign and ended up finishing fourth.
The Reds started their competitive season with a 3-3 draw against Watford. Klopp is facing a similar problem like in last season as many of his key players is out with injury. To make things worse, Philippe Coutinho is expected to leave the club real soon. With no major additions after the arrival of Mohamed Salah from Rome, the Reds could be in for a difficult season.
Hoffenheim vs Liverpool: Head-to-head
This is the first meeting between the two clubs.
Liverpool’s record against German clubs in UEFA Competition from 36 matches is 17 wins, 13 draws and 6 losses. They are unbeaten at Anfield with 11 wins and 3 draws from 14 games. Meanwhile, they managed just 2 wins from 14 trips to Germany, drew 8 and lost 4.
As a head-coach, Jurgen Klopp met Hoffenheim 16 and has a record of 5 wins, 5 draws and 5 losses.
Hoffenheim vs Liverpool: Prediction
Despite being touted as underdogs, Hoffenheim could prove a handful for Liverpool. Last season, we saw Nagelsmann’s tactical know-how torment Bayern Munich at this same venue and ended up with a priceless 2-0 win in their bags.
The Reds haven’t started the season well and coming on the back of a disappointing 3-3 draw against a moderate Watford. To make things worse, they are without 8 players due to injury. Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Ings are the prominent names who are forced to watch the match from home.
In a nutshell, this match is poised to be a clash of tactical masterclass. But, Hoffenheim could do enough to snatch a narrow victory here.