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Bayern Munich and Hoffenheim seem to set the tone for rip-roaring Bundesliga campaign to come

The new Bundesliga season arrives alive with a dramatic clap of thunder as champions Bayern Munich seem to make a lightning begin against a substantial-traveling Hoffenheim team who arrive in Bavaria issuing a weather conditions warning.
In pre-match text strong sufficient to whip up a going to storm, Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann declared, “I often attempt for the greatest, and the greatest is the title.” His reverse in the Bayern dugout, Niko Kovac, shipped a steadying reply: “The competition will promote us,” he explained.

Yet who will emerge from this Friday evening cyclonic coming with each other at the Allianz Arena acquiring ideal braved the footballing whirlwind? Searching at the numbers, the forecast points to an unpredictable traditional to get the Bundesliga rolling for 2018/19.

“We have to test to deliver joy, passion, team spirit and harmony,” the a short while ago appointed Kovac explained in advance of his initially Bundesliga match as Bayern coach. The Berlin-born, ex-Croatia intercontinental, brought all of the higher than to Eintracht Frankfurt, the club he led to DFB Cup glory against his recent companies very last May.

Kovac built these defensive balance at the Eagles that the 100 goals they conceded through the 77 top rated-flight games underneath his tenure made him statistically their ideal tactician in that component. Intriguingly, on the other hand, through that run, the former Bayern midfielder unsuccessful to oversee a win against Nagelsmann’s Hoffenheim in five games, Eintracht getting rid of two and drawing 3.

“The only possibility you have against Bayern is if you play boldly. It will be tough, but we are optimistic,” Nagelsmann explained in advance of Hoffenheim’s initially at any time look in a Friday evening Bundesliga opener. The division’s youngest-at any time coach when he arrived on the Hoffenheim scene as a 28-year-old in February 2016, Nagelsmann has managed to win twice and draw one particular of his four matches against the history champions.

Hoffenheim even raced into a 2- guide in just the opening twelve minutes of the teams’ very last come across – a setback on home soil Bayern hadn’t endured for 40 several years. Yet on that occasion very last January, the Bavarians responded with five goals to win easily, an consequence Kovac and his expenses would delight in repeating on opening evening.

Concerned in two of the five goals in that aforementioned triumph, Robert Lewandowski  – who turned 30 on Tuesday – ominously declared this 7 days, “I want to go outside of my boundaries and win even much more titles.” The warning will echo loudly with Hoffenheim, their Polish tormentor acquiring netted seven times in 14 meetings against the team from Kraichgau. Extra to that, the 3-time Bundesliga top rated-scorer has struck thirteen goals earlier recent Hoffenheim custodian Oliver Baumann and has even netted in his very last 3 Matchday 1 openers for Bayern.

The ball again in Nagelsmann’s court docket, Hoffenheim’s Mr. Motivator discussed, “(Bayern) are extremely good tactically underneath Niko Kovac and they are rough to conquer. (On the other hand), a win is in just the realm of possibility.” The Sinsheimers’ general Bundesliga history since Nagelsmann’s arrival is bettered only by Bayern and Borussia Dortmund. Friday night’s guests will know they will need to develop one particular much more monumental general performance if they are to gain what would be a initially at any time win against these colossal opponents at the Allianz Arena.

As they aim for an unprecedented seventh-straight title this time period underneath the decided gaze of a new man in cost, Bayern are braced for an opening onslaught against very last term’s third-placed finishers, themselves decided to light-weight up their youthful tactician’s very last campaign in cost. A storm is brewing in the environs of Bayern’s wonderful Allianz Arena, so baton down the hatches and be geared up.

Simply click listed here for the hottest Bayern vs. Hoffenheim team news!

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Standing tall! Hoffenheim and Leipzig aim to be a cut above in Bundesliga face-off



It will be a battle of youth; of fresh, inventive ideas, quick running and high pressing, and perhaps far less importantly, when Hoffenheim host RB Leipzig this weekend, it will be a battle between two of the Bundesliga’s tallest coaches.

Who will triumph in tactical terms will unfold before our eyes in what is certain to be a blistering Bundesliga match-up at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar Arena on Saturday.

Watch: Leipzig narrowly beat Hoffenheim at the Red Bull Arena when the sides last met

However, having counted and recounted this week’s big-game statistics, one less than crucial question remains unanswered: just who is taller, Julian Nagelsmann or Ralph Hasenhüttl? Unconfirmed sources suggest that the Leipzig leader edges it by millimetres, standing as the Austrian does at 1.91m, or 6 ft 3in.

Yet to finally verify if this is true, our stat collectors have called on both coaches to stand back to back following their pre-game handshake at the home of Hoffenheim so they can finally gain closure on this most trivial of conundrums.

Far less than trivial, of course, is the Sinsheimers’ recent record ahead of their meeting with the Bundesliga’s second-placed team. Just one win in their last eight games in all competitions has young Nagelsmann concerned.

A 3-0 reverse against Hamburg last time out – which began with the unfortunate Kevin Akpoguma scoring the division’s 1,000th own goal – left Hoffenheim’s record in their last eight Bundesliga games looking like this: W2 D3 L3. “I am a friend of honest words,” Nagelsmann said, drawing on his best Game of Thrones-era voice. “We are in a crisis of results and cannot live on what we achieved in the past. We must get back to reality again and do everything we can to win.”

Despite their recent travails, Hoffenheim are only five points worse off than at the same stage last season, when they finished a club-high fourth and qualified for European competition for the first time in their history. That was a feat Leipzig also achieved when ending 2016/17 in second, and the Saxony-based side are hitting a similar vein of good form again, having won six of their previous eight top-flight matches.

Watch: Leipzig down Werder Bremen on Matchday 14!

High-Tower Hasenhüttl was even thrilled that Leipzig’s last game – a 2-0 win against Werder Bremen – ended with his side keeping a clean sheet, something they hadn’t managed in their previous six encounters across all competitions.

“[The Bremen game] was a huge piece of work for us …. I’m happy we finally got back to zero in [the goals conceded column],” the Leipzig coach enthused. The 50-year-old will also delight in the knowledge that of the 30 Bundesliga teams Hoffenheim have faced, Leipzig are the only side they have yet to beat.

Indeed, Saturday’s hosts took the lead against their Saxony rivals three times last term, but the first encounter – Leipzig’s Bundesliga debut – ended in a 2-2 draw while in the second meeting, the newly-promoted outfit ended Hoffenheim’s 18-match unbeaten run by posting a 2-1 win at the Red Bull Arena.

While Nagelsmann and Hasenhüttl might by the tallest on the touchline, Timo Werner and Sandro Wagner are among the deadliest of German marksmen on the field of play. Both have combined to register 11 goals this term, with ‘Turbo’ Werner’s seven earning him fourth spot in the race for the 2017/18 Torjägerkanone.

And watching both skilled strikers from a lofty position in the stands on Saturday will be a visitor who has strong links with the men in blue. Leipzig’s sporting director Ralf Rangnick was responsible for taking Hoffenheim into the Bundesliga for the first time in 2008 as their coach, an accomplishment he oversaw in the same role with Leipzig in 2015/16, before handing the reins to Hasenhüttl.

Who will stand tallest when the final whistle blows on Saturday remains to be seen, yet as the short history between Hoffenheim and Leipzig suggests, both look set to produce high entertainment in the battle to procure maximum points.

Quiz: How well do you know RB Leipzig?

Click here for the Hoffenheim vs. Leipzig Match Centre!



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UEFA Europa League – Hoffenheim-Ludogorets – Hoffenheim v Ludogorets background


Hoffenheim’s debut season in European competition will end with this fixture, but Ludogorets know that a win or a draw in Germany will secure their presence in the round of 32 for a second successive year.

The Bulgarian side can also afford to lose and still go through if İstanbul Başakşehir fail to win the other Group C fixture at home to already-qualified Braga. Ludogorets will top the group if they win and Braga do not.

Previous meetings
• In the teams’ first meeting on matchday two, Ludogorets got the better of Hoffenheim in Razgrad, coming from behind to win 2-1. Czech international Pavel Kadeřábek gave the German club an early lead, but second-half strikes by Svetoslav Dyakov and Jody Lukoki turned the match round, giving Ludogorets three points from their first match against German opposition.

• That was the first Bulgarian win in 12 years and 12 UEFA games between Bulgarian and German sides in UEFA club competition (D4 L7), though the three previous fixtures had ended in draws.

Form guide
• Hoffenheim have scored in all seven of their European fixtures but have won only one of them, losing five.

• Ludogorets are unbeaten in five away games in the UEFA Europa League group stage (W4 D1) and have lost only once in nine away fixtures in the competition as a whole (W6 D2). They have kept clean sheets in their last four UEFA Europa League matches outside Bulgaria, posting three successive goalless draws before overcoming Braga 2-0 on matchday four.

• Beaten by Liverpool home and away in the UEFA Champions League play-offs, Hoffenheim are contesting the UEFA Europa League group stage in their debut season in European competition.

• Bulgarian champions for the past six seasons, Ludogorets reached the round of 16 in their only previous UEFA Europa League group stage campaign, 2013/14; they also played in last season’s round of 32 after transferring from the UEFA Champions League.


Highlights: Ludogorets 2-1 Hoffenheim

Links and trivia
• The journey from Razgrad to Sinsheim is around 1,500km.

• This will be Ludogorets’ 58th UEFA competition game, all in the past six seasons – and Hoffenheim’s eighth.

• Hoffenheim’s Kerem Demirbay and Ádám Szalai are suspended.

• Suspended for next match if booked: Natanael (Ludogorets); Dennis Geiger, Andrej Kramarić, Nadiem Amiri, Mark Uth (Hoffenheim).

The coaches
• Hired in the summer of 2017, Ludogorets boss Dimitar Dimitrov established his coaching credentials at home-town club Neftochimik Burgas and landed Bulgarian titles with Litex Lovech and Levski Sofia, later coaching in Russia and Kazakhstan.

• Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann’s playing career ended prematurely due to persistent knee problems, but he shone as a youth coach and – aged 28 – took charge of Hoffenheim in 2016, becoming the Bundesliga’s youngest-ever senior boss.



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