TSG Hoffenheim will be aiming to secure a fourth successive league win when they square off against defending champions Bayern at the Allianz Arena this weekend. Pellegrino Matarazzo’s side were bottom of the league three rounds ago, but a series of impressive wins has seen them rise to 14th ahead of this weekend’s clash.
They first beat Hertha 3:1 at home, with Andrej Kramaric scoring a double for the hosts. Kramaric was again on the scoresheet when they beat Werder 2:1 away from home earlier this month, which was followed up by a 2:0 win at home to fellow relegation threatened side Schalke.
TSG’s victory over S04 was secured thanks to an own goal from Alex Kral and a second half spot kick from Ihlas Bebou. The striker’s original penalty kick was saved by Royal Blues keeper Ralf Fahrmann, but the ref ordered it to be retaken, and Bebou made no mistake on the second attempt.
The three consecutive wins have given TSG some much needed breathing space- they’re now five points ahead of 16th placed Stuttgart (who are in the relegation playoff spot).
Bayern lead the Bundesliga currently, having beaten Freiburg 1:0 last weekend. The solitary goal came from the boot of Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt, and it was quite some strike- a long-range stunner worthy of winning any league game!
Bayern have scored four goals against Hoffenheim in each of the latter’s last three visits to the Allianz Arena. A redux of that will do very nicely for the Bavarians, who will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing 3:0 loss in midweek to Manchester City that has all but ended their European hopes. To compound matters, there were reports of a bust-up between Leroy Sane and Sadio Mane after the game, which allegedly ended in the former’s lip bleeding after a punch from the latter.
All in all, Bayern do appear slightly vulnerable- a new coach in Tuchel looking to stamp his mark amidst exits from the Pokal and probably the Champions League, against a side who come into this game on a three game winning streak.
The reverse fixture earlier this season at the Rhein Neckar Arena went the way of Bayern, with Jamal Musiala and Eric Choupo Moting scoring in the first half to help the visitors run out 2:0 winners.
Bayern v Hoffenheim (14.30 KO on Saturday; Round 28 of the 22/23 season)