Preview: TSG 1899 Hoffenheim – FC Bayern
Hoffenheim are currently in second place in the table for the second half of the season. Unlike other “surprise teams” in the first half of the season like 1. FC Cologne, there was no massive dip in performance. How is the team able to repeat the performances from the first half of the season? Which developments do you see if you’re looking at both halves of the campaign?
Ahead of the winter break, Bayern, Leipzig and Hoffenheim were the top three in the league. One quarter of a season later nothing has changed about that. Other teams like Hertha BSC have lost track. One attempt at an explanation as to why it didn’t happen to Hoffenheim: If you beat Hertha in both games of the Bundesliga season, you’re probably better than them. In recent weeks it became clear that towards the end of a game, Hoffenheim have got more power, concentration and creativity left than most other Bundesliga sides. On Friday, Hertha only had one shot on target after their goal in the 32nd minute, Ingolstadt was beaten 5-2 after being 1-2 down and against Mainz TSG scored three goals in the last ten minutes. This might be down to improved performances from players with the squad rank 12-18, which correlates with the high number of super-sub goals.
The first game in Munich ended 1-1. Back then the hosts were basically overwhelmed by the high press at the start of the game, especially Alonso. However, in the second half Bayern controlled the game and the draw was probably a lucky result for Hoffenheim. Will Nagelsmann still choose a similar tactic? Which possibilities do you see so that the pressing doesn’t collapse in the second half again?
The aforementioned super-subs only really refer to the strikers. Unlike during the first meeting, Uth is fit to play, Szalai is well in form, and Terrazzino is a technically adept addition. A lot of subs are good reinforcements in the run of play and could definitely replace exhausted strikers well because of the high attacking press. One shouldn’t really assume that Nagelsmann will go by the first game. His team has changed and especially FC Bayern has changed. Things that worked in the game in Munich don’t necessarily have to be particularly promising on Tuesday.
With Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy, two starters will leave Hoffenheim and join the record champion in the summer. What types of players can FC Bayern look forward to? Which qualities are both offering that might be rather unknown?
It wouldn’t do the scouting department of FC Bayern Munich justice if one thinks that some qualities of the two German internationals are hidden to them. The eye with which they discovered top talent like Mats Hummels and Renato Sanches last summer speaks for itself. It was in the papers lately suggesting Bayern are “frantically” looking for an intelligent and good passer in central midfield to succeed Xabi Alonso. Next to the signings of Rudy and Süle, they’ll surely find that player profile somewhere.
To finish it off, please make a prediction for the game and how the rest of the season will go for Hoffenheim.
Hoffenheim are playing better than ever and will make it to a European competition for the first time in club history by the looks of things. The form of FC Bayern is currently enough for big wins at home against Hamburg or Augsburg, but away from home it was pretty close against Gladbach or Hertha. On paper this is probably the biggest challenge of the current season for both teams. FC Bayern’s true class always comes out in games like these. They’ll win 0-3 with a hat-trick from Thomas Müller.