Champions League Qualifier | Hoffenheim v Liverpool

❓: Champions League first play-off round, first leg
📅: Tuesday 15th August 19:45 GMT
📍: Rhein-Neckar Arena, Sinsheim

Who are Hoffenheim? 

The German side hail from the Sinsheim region and up until 2008 were a team struggling in the lower realms of the German football system. Last year they finished 4th in the Bundesliga and they have some solid centre forwards to call upon. 

Manager Julian Nagelsmann got his side through the whole of the 2016/2017 season with just four losses to their name in the league.

Fun fact: Hoffenheim open their home matches by playing Rammstein’s “Engel”.


Image via Sky Sports

Should Liverpool be concerned?

On the one hand, Liverpool should be very concerned, other than perhaps Nice most would agree that Hoffenheim were the toughest draw for our Champions League qualifier. The German side may be relatively inexperienced when it comes to Europe but they will be hungrier than most to get through and they enter this fixture on the back of a cracking season.

On the other hand Liverpool have an affinity with the Champions League, you could argue that the Reds shouldn’t be concerned by any opposition thrown in front of them. After all to do well in Europe you simply have to beat the best. There’s also the fact that it’s over two legs, with the second one at Anfield, a huge advantage. 

I personally think this is the kind of game that Liverpool will relish, the enormity of the occasion and the big game atmosphere will work to our advantage I feel.

Previous Meetings

None. The Reds have never crossed Hoffenheim’s path before however, overall the Reds do have a fantastic record against German sides. Liverpool have only lost on seven occasions to German opposition from a total of 42 fixtures*.

The Reds may not have faced Hoffenheim but Jurgen Klopp as a manager certainly has. He faced the side 19 times as boss of Borussia Dortmund and his record reads: 
W: 8, D: 7, L: 4.


“If we’re only at 95% against Hoffenheim we’ll have big, big problems, and they will knock us out – Jurgen Klopp”

Team

Well the big, although also rather predictable news is that Coutinho is not in the squad that has travelled to Germany. Does he have a bad back? Or is that a load of tosh? Who knows. What we do know is, there are clearly a few more twists and turns in this saga yet.

Also unavailable for manager Jurgen Klopp is Daniel Sturridge who isn’t fit enough and is still recovering from a thigh injury. 

Thoughts

It’s going to be a tough game away from home for the Reds but I honestly feel that the occasion will bring out the best in them. The defence is clearly an issue for Liverpool and Hoffenheim will try hard to punish but if Klopp can get his attackers to find an early goal it could be a decent outing. The lads will surely want to prove a point after the Watford game and Liverpool only need a draw really to feel confident returning to Anfield.

I’m going for a relatively uneventful 1-1.

*Source:worldfootball.net




Read More: Champions League Qualifier | Hoffenheim v Liverpool
Source: The Liver Bird