Sports Mole previews Sunday’s Bundesliga clash between Hoffenheim and Greuther Furth, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
The hosts have lost three on the bounce and could well drop out of the top six this weekend, whilst the visitors’ relegation from the top flight could finally be confirmed.
A dreadful first-half showing at fellow European hopefuls RB Leipzig last weekend set Hoffenheim well on their way to a third successive defeat in the Bundesliga.
Die Kraichgauer found themselves 3-0 down before half time, and with no response on offer in the second 45, Sebastian Hoeness‘s side went down without a fight to leave their hopes of continental qualification hanging in the balance.
Despite it being against difficult opposition, Hoeness will have been disappointed with his team’s performance, which displayed few signs of an effort to bounce back from successive defeats against relegation-threatened Hertha Berlin and VfL Bochum.
Four wins on the bounce between February and March had shot Hoffenheim back into contention for a surprise Champions League spot, but following the poor results of late, Sunday’s hosts find themselves back down in sixth place, only keeping hold of the final continental qualification spot over Union Berlin courtesy of goal difference.
Hoeness’s men will be expected to end their losing streak in front of their own supporters against bottom-of-the-table Greuther on matchday 30, and in truth, it could prove vital that they do so if they are to ensure that they will be competing in Europe next season.
A repeat of their meeting in November would do nicely, when Hoffenheim hammered their opponents by a remarkable 6-3 scoreline, which included an incredible 11-minute spell of four goals being netted between the two sides.
Meanwhile, Greuther could well be put out of their misery on Sunday, with an immediate return to the 2.Bundesliga all but confirmed.
Bar a brief upturn in form either side of the winter break, their relegation has been on the cards all season, with the Cloverleaves struggling to adapt to the huge step up in quality in the top flight.
Despite all of their fellow strugglers losing last weekend, Greuther’s 2-0 defeat at home to Borussia Monchengladbach means they head to the PreZero Arena with a huge 10-point gap cutting them adrift at the foot of the table.
As a result, should results go against them earlier in the weekend, defeat on Sunday would confirm their relegation from the Bundesliga.
Therefore, realistically, only pride is at stake for the visitors, as they look to provide some brighter memories for their supporters during the closing stages of a dismal campaign.
In order to do so however, Greuther will have to achieve something that they have failed to do so all campaign – win away from home.
Just two points have been collected from 14 Bundesliga games on their travels up to this point, so hopes of a positive performance and result remain extremely slim.
Hoffenheim Bundesliga form:
Greuther Furth Bundesliga form:
Hoffenheim will welcome back David Raum to their side on Sunday after the wing-back sat out last weekend’s defeat due to a one-match suspension.
However, Ermin Bicakcic, Florian Grillitsch and Marco John remain unavailable due to injury, whilst young forward Georginio Rutter joins Benjamin Hubner, Dennis Geiger and Sebastian Rudy as doubts for the encounter.
January arrival Afimico Pululu will also be unavailable due to suspension, after being sent off in an Under-23s game in midweek.
Hoffenheim possible starting lineup:
Baumann; Posch, Vogt, Richards; Kaderabek, Samassekou, Stiller, Raum; Baumgartner; Kramaric, Bebou
Greuther Furth possible starting lineup:
Linde; Griesbeck, Bauer, Viergever; Asta, Tillman, Christiansen, Itter; Nielsen, Green; Hrgota
We say: Hoffenheim 2-0 Greuther Furth
Were Hoffenheim playing against much tougher opposition on Sunday, it would become far more difficult to predict a home win for them.
However, with lowly Greuther visiting, who cannot pick up anything at all on their travels, the hosts should stroll to a comfortable win despite their stuttering form of late.