Hoffenheim vs Augsburg by Gustav
It seems that the international break came in the right moment for everyone in Hoffenheim, as the side started well into the new season, but then suffered two consecutive defeats before the break. Firstly they lost away to Ludogorets in Europa League and will now have pretty difficult task to reach the knockout stage after having zero points from two matches.
On the other side, they also suffered a slight setback in Bundesliga away from home against Freiburg losing that match with a 3:2 result, which was their first defeat after seven rounds in Bundesliga. However, needs to be said that the team was quite unlucky and that they could have walked away with a different result on some other day - taking the lead in 14th minute via Hack, but then had a blackout for five minutes as the guests reverted the scoreline in next five - with Hoffenheim trying to find the equalizer for most of the match.
Just when they risked the most, third goal came for the home team in 87th minute, with the guests still reducing during the additional time via an own goal. They are now sharing second position with Bayern, being five points below Dortmund and need to get a victory here badly.
Forward Adam Szalai (1/1) remains injured and out, same as central back Emir Bicakcic (2/0) who is recovering slowly, but the match should come early for him. Midfielder Kerem Demirbay could return here, while with some problems during the weekend were offensive midfielder Serge Gnabry and central midfielder Lukas Rupp.
Augsburg, on the other side, recorded five matches undefeated streak before they suffered 1:2 defeat at home against Dortmund in previous Bundesliga clash. Everything interested happened inside the first halftime, as the guests took the lead in fourth minute already via Yarmolenko, with hosts replying in eleventh with a goal from Ciauby, but couldn't keep the result and conceded second in 23rd via Kagawa.
Must be said that it was pretty attacking and open game from both sides, but the guests remained better on the field and even missed a penalty kick towards the end, surely deserving their three pointer. Augsburg is now at sixth position, just three points less than second and third placed Bayern and Hoffenheim and surely strive to get a positive outcome in this one as well.
Guests have couple of players doubtful for this one as well, including central back Martin Hinteregger (7/0), defensive midfielder Rani Khedira (6/0), defender Raphael Framberger (2/0). Midfielder Moritz Leitner and defender Georg Teigl both remain long term absentees.
- Hoffenheim have kept a clean sheet in 5 of their last 6 home matches (Bundesliga).
- Hoffenheim are undefeated in their last 9 home matches against Augsburg.
Hoffenheim will surely enter the match trying to score the goal as soon as possible and surely looking for a three pointer that would keep their chances good of reaching the Champions League ticket. Augsburg, on the other side, did well so far in the season, however I expect them to have a bit less quality performances on the road as every season and therefore, I still see value in this one.