Tuesday, 15 August 2017

UCL Play-Off: Hoffenheim vs Liverpool Match Preview, Team News And Possible Lineups

Liverpool will look to get a step closer to making a return to the Champions League group stage when they take on Hoffenheim on Tuesday.
Hoffenheim vs Liverpool
2017/18 UEFA Champions League Play-off
Date: Tuesday, 15th August 2017
Kick-off at 19:45 Nigerian Time
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 English Premier League’s 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.

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.

TEAM NEWS:

Hoffenheim - Julian Nagelsmann was thought to have lost striker Sandro Wagner due to an ankle injury, but he was back on Saturday and looks like he'll be good to go come Tuesday night against Liverpool.

Liverpool - Jurgen Klopp has quite a long list of injuries.  Right back Nathaniel Clyne and center midfielder Adam Lallana are not even in the team and won't be involved.  Injury worries that have been included are Daniel Sturridge, Barcelona target Philippe Coutinho, and Dejan Lovren.  Coutinho sat out Saturday's match with a "back injury," and is not likely to take any part.  Other players left out include Adam Bogdan, Danny Ings, and Mamadou Sakho.

TEAM FORM:

Hoffenheim - The German club have a draw and four wins in their last five matches.  They drew 0-0 against Augsburg at home last season to end the Bundesliga season.  They won all three friendlies in preseason, winning 4-2 at home over Standard Liege, 1-2 away to Derby County, and 3-0 at home against Bologna.  On Saturday, they faced Rot-Weiss Erfurt and they won 0-1 away to them.

Liverpool - The English club have three wins and two draws in their last five matches.  They won 0-3 against Hertha Berlin in a friendly before playing the Audi Cup. They won against Bayern Munich 0-3 before drawing 1-1 and then losing on penalties against Atletico.  They finished preseason with a 3-1 win in Dublin against Athletic Bilbao.  On Saturday, they faced Watford in the league opener and they drew 3-3 in a terrible defensive display.

PREDICTED LINEUPS:

Hoffenheim (3-5-2): Baumann; Nordtveit, Bicakcic, Vogt; Polanski, Toljan, Demirbay, Amiri, Schulz; Kramaric, Wagner
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 3-5-2 football formation

Liverpool (4-3-3): Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Mane, Firmino
Liverpool 4-3-3 football formation


KEY STATS:
  • Tuesday’s encounter will be the first ever meeting between Hoffenheim and Liverpool.
  • Fortress Rhein-Neckar – Hoffenheim have lost only one of their last 22 matches at the Rhein-Neckar Arena.
  • In 40 outings against German opposition in Europe, Liverpool have registered 19 wins while losing just seven times.
  • Liverpool have scored at least one goal in each of their last seven away games in all competitions.
  • Jurgen Klopp’s record against Hoffenheim leaves much to be desired, having been on the right side of the result just five times in 16 meetings (D6 L5).
PREDICTION: 
 
Hoffenheim 2-2 Liverpool - 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 nevertheless, Hoffenheim and Liverpool will end the game in draw.

TODAY'S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PLAY-OFFS IN FULL:

17:00   —   Qarabag FK VS FC Koebenhavn

19:45  —   APOEL Nicosia VS Slavia Prague

19:45  —   Hoffenheim VS Liverpool

19:45  —   Sporting CP VS FC FCSB

19:45  —   Young Boys VS CSKA Moscow

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