Hoffenheim is currently still in progress of stabilizing their performance after the departure of their most talented star, their manager, Julian Nagelsmann, this season. He chose to move to RB Leipzig for his next adventure. His successor, Alfred Schreuder, is still in search of the best formation to optimise the team’s potential. This Monday, Hoffenheim will visit Volkwagen Arena to face the host Wolfsburg, the Bundesliga Champions in 2009. They were the last team to win the title before the domination of Bayern Munchen with the meddling of Borussia Dortmund in the past 10 years. Unfortunately, Josip Brekalo and Co have not in their best form yet. They currently lie on number seven of the standings while TSG Hoffenheim is only on number 13. No wonder that the game is expected to be even.
Oliver Glasner’s men have begun their campaign quite fine actually. They have been unbeaten in all competition, including in Europa League. Last Thursday they managed to win 3-1 against FC Olexandria in their previous fixture. Max Arnold, Admir Mehmedi and the Croatian youngster, Josip Brekalo bagged a goal each. Meanwhile, in Bundesliga, they had a draw last week when they encountered Fortuna Duesseldorf 1-1. Unfortunately, there are number of injured players who might have to be sidelined, including the goalie Koen Casteels and the American defender John Brooks. Glasner needs to consider the physical fitness of his squad due to their tight schedule this season.
Oliver Baumann and Co’s campaign in Bundesliga this season has not started off well. They have been defeated twice, plus only one win and a draw. Last week, they suffered a loss against Freiburg 3-0. Christian Gunter, Janik Haberer and Niels Petersen brought a nightmare for their home fans. Alfred Schreuder is compelled to rise and continue the glorious work of Nagelsmann to save their campaign and seal one spot for at least Europa League zone. The departures of several key figures in the team like Joelinton, Nico Schultz and Kerem Demirbay have affected their form. Their summer signings such as Robert Skov and Jurgen Locadia, have not lived up the fans’ expectation yet.
Missing Players and Probable Lineups:
The host is often in favour of 3-4-3 formation. Glasner’s real issue would be the goalkeeper position as Koen Casteels is ruled out due to hairline crack in calfbone. Some other players in the injury table are John Brooks (pulled hamstring) and Ignacio Camacho (ankle problems)
Wolfsburg: Pavao Pervan; Jeffrey Bruma, Josuha Guillavogui, Robin Knoche; Max Arnold, Yannick Gerhardt, William, Jerome Roussilon; Josip Brekalo, Admir Mehmedi, Wout Weghorst.
Alfread Schreuder apparently still opts for the similar formation to Nagelsmann, 3-4-1-2 or 3-5-2. Sadly, he will not be able to play the club’s biggest signing this summer, Diadie Samassekou, due to the torn muscle fibre, Andrej Kramaric (knee injury) and Steven Zuber (bruised foot).
Hoffenheim: Oliver Baumann; Benjamin Hubner, Kevin Vogt, Ermin Bicakcic; Sebastian Rudy, Kostas Satfylidis, Pavel Kaderabek, Florian Grillitsch, Dennis Geiger; Isak Belfodil , Ihlas Bebou.
Wolfsburg seems to have better record when they play at home with nine games undefeated in Bundesliga. In the last six encounters versus Hoffenheim, Glasner’s men only lost once and won twice.
The inconsistency on their contender’s side should be an advantage for the host. Josip Brekalo and Co can seal maximum points if they are in their peak performance. Otherwise, another draw would be a fair result.
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