Preview: Hoffenheim vs. RB Leipzig

Julian Naglesmann was the talk of the town when it was announced that he would be moving to RB Leipzig at the end of this campaign. Now, he prepares to face his future colleagues – the ones his side humiliated twice last season – on Saturday in what could be described as the Naglesmann derby.

When the two came head-to-head last season, it was Hoffenheim that came out victorious, and in a comprehensive manner too, handing their opposition with their heaviest defeat as a Bundesliga club. Upon their trip to Leipzig, they came close to trumping the feat when they were 5-1 up with an hour gone. Had it not been for Dayot Upamecano’s late consolation, the hosts would have endured further embarrassment at the hands of their future head coach.

In the first midweek fixtures of the league season, Leipzig finally broke the clean-sheet voodoo that had been haunting them for twelve matches, dating back to March, which, coincidentally came in their last encounter with Stuttgart. In a game Timo Werner was denied his 50th Bundesliga goal due to a VAR call, Willi Orban was quickest to react to Kevin Kampl’s fumbled shot and Jean-Kévin Augustin exemplified his talent with an excellent goal to assure that the points remained in Saxony.

Situated just one place behind this weekend’s guests, with a single point separating the two, it has been a good week for Hoffenheim. Starting it by opening their Champions League account with a 2-2 draw away to Shakhtar Donetsk, a draw with Borussia Dortmund then followed – a game that would have gone in their favour had Ishak Belfodil been able to covert a close-range chance late on. The week closed out with a successful trip to Hannover on Tuesday, returning home with three points in hand thanks to a 3-1 result.

While Marcelo Saracchi returns to the squad after being rested as a precaution on Wednesday, Emil Forsberg will take his turn on the sideline as he suffers from an adductor problem.

Match Information

Date: Saturday, September 29, 2018

Kick-off: 15:30 (CEST)

Venue: Rhein-Neckar Arena (capacity: 30,150)

Referee: Deniz Aytekin

Broadcasting: Sky Sport Bundesliga 5 (Germany) | Fox Sports 1 (United States)

Previous Meetings

28.08.16: Hoffenheim 2-2 RB Leipzig

28.01.17: RB Leipzig 2-1 Hoffenheim

02.12.17: Hoffenheim 4-0 RB Leipzig

21.04.18: RB Leipzig 2-5 Hoffenheim

Current Form

Hoffenheim

Freiburg 3-1 (H) | Fortuna Düsseldorf 2-1 (A) | Shakhtar Donetsk 2-2 (A) | Borussia Dortmund 1-1 (H) | Hannover 96 1-3 (A)

RB Leipzig

Zagłębie Lubin 1-0 (H) | Hannover 96 3-2 (H) | Red Bull Salzburg 2-3 (H) | Eintracht Frankfurt 1-1 (A) | 2-0 Stuttgart (H)

Team News

Hoffenheim

Injured: Lukas Rupp (cruciate ligament) | Kasim Adams (ankle) |  Nadiem Amiri (fatigue fracture) |Kerem Demirbay (adductor) | Dennis Geiger (hamstring) | Benjamin Hübner (concussion)

RB Leipzig

Injured: Lukas Klostermann (knee) | Emil Forbserg (adductor)

Predicted Line-ups

Hoffenheim

Baumann

Bičakčić – Vogt – Posch

Kadeřábek – Bittencourt – Grillisch – Zuber – Schulz

Joelinton – Kramarić

RB Leipzig

Gulácsi

Mukiele – Konaté – Orban – Saracchi

Kampl – Demme

Sabitzer – Bruma

Augustin – Werner

Press Conference

Ralf Rangnick: “Hoffenheim will demand a lot from us. We want to play like we did against Stuttgart. Our aim is a clean sheet, which last game we showed we can get.”

“It’s an interesting match, not only because of the current Bundesliga standings, but also because Julian Nagelsmann will be our coach next season. The two teams are equally matched.”

“I’m looking forward to an exciting game, which it’s clear both teams really want to win. We have a good chance to win the match, providing we stay solid, like we did on Wednesday, and score some more goals.

Quotes via Twitter/@RBLeipzig_EN

Score Prediction

Hoffenheim 2-1 RB Leipzig

[Photo: Simon Hofmann/Bongarts]

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