TSG Hoffenheim will brace themselves for a tough challenge ahead as they host Bayern Munich at the Rhein-Neckar Arena on Sunday.

Following Borussia Dortmund’s surprising defeat to FC Augsburg, Bayern Munich will look to take the early lead in the Bundesliga title race, when they lock horns with TSG Hoffenheim, at the Rhein-Neckar Arena on Sunday.

The Bavarians are by far the most in-form team in Europe right now, and notably kickstarted their Bundesliga campaign with a thumping 8-0 win over FC Schalke 04. It was followed by a win over Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup, which saw them complete the quadruple.

Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick now averages one trophy per nine games as a head coach. And on Sunday, his main priority will be to seal a win and take the upper hand in the title chase, especially with Dortmund and Leipzig both dropping points this weekend.

It is also fair to point out that Hoffenheim aren’t exactly a vulnerable opponent like Schalke. They are coming on the back of a 3-2 win over 1.FC Koln in their opening fixture.

Their head coach, Sebastian Hoeness, the son of former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has done extremely well to shape up the Hoffenheim side, especially following the abrupt departure of Alfred Schreuder to Barcelona. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of his fascinating encounter this weekend.

Tactics & Team News

TSG Hoffenheim

Hoeness is facing an injury crisis in defence at the moment, with key players like Benjamin Hubner, Havard Nordtveit and Konstantinos Stafylidis all sidelined.

It essentially means that we should expect an unchanged back three consisting of Kasim Adams, Ermin Bicakcic and Kevin Vogt, with Oliver Baumann being a guaranteed starter in goal.

Hoffenheim have a solid midfield department, with Diadie Samassekou partnering Dennis Geiger in the double-pivot. They could be crucial in preventing the Bayern Munich players from dominating the game.

Elsewhere, Pavel Kaderabek is a guaranteed starter at left wing-back while Kevin Akpoguma may continue on the opposite flank, ahead of Joshua Brenet while Robert Skov is a doubt heading into this clash.

And finally, in the attack, Andrej Kramaric is the definitely the one to keep an eye on, having scored a brace in the win over Koln. He is set to spearhead the Hoffenheim attack alongside Munas Dabbur with the young Christopher Baumgartner providing the creative support from the number ten role.

Probable Lineup (3-4-1-2): Baumann; Adams, Vogt, Bicakcic; Akpoguma, Geiger, Samassekou, Kaderabek; Baumgartner; Kramaric, Dabbur

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Bayern Munich

Unlike Hoffenheim, Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick has very few options at his disposal due to the departure of Thiago Alcantara while players like Ivan Perisic, Philippe Coutinho and Alvaro Odriozola have all returned to their parent clubs.

MUNICH, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 06: Head coach Hans-Dieter Flick of Bayern Muenchen looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League group B match between Bayern Muenchen and Olympiacos FC at Allianz Arena on November 06, 2019 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images )

Can Flick spill his magic once again? (Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images )

On the bright side, however, Alphonso Davies is expected to return to the starting lineup for the first time this season. He is expected to replace Lucas Hernandez at left-back, with Benjamin Pavard operating on the opposite flank.

We could also expect a change at centre-back, with David Alaba, who is going through a delicate contractual situation at Bayern, set to make way for Jerome Boateng. The experienced defender is likely to accompany Niklas Sule in central defence while Manuel Neuer is set to continue in between the sticks.

There should be no changes elsewhere, though, as Bayern Munich lack the services of a proper alternative to the midfield duo of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka.

They also do not have any proven back-up for new signing Leroy Sane aside from Kingsley Coman, who is ruled out. It means the former Man City ace will have to start for the third consecutive time in a week, alongside the likes of Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski in the Bayern Munich attack.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Pavard, Sule, Boateng, Davies; Kimmich, Goretzka; Gnabry, Muller, Sane; Lewandowski

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Key Stats

  • Hoeness could become only the second Hoffenheim coach to win his first two Bundesliga matches in charge, after Ralf Rangnick.
  • Kramaric has scored seven goals in his last two matches – a Bundesliga record.
  • Last season’s 6-0 defeat to Bayern was Hoffenheim’s heaviest home loss since their promotion to the Bundesliga in 2008.
  • Bayern have won their last 10 away league matches in a row. Eleven would be a Bundesliga record.
  • Bayern could become the first team since Borussia Dortmund in 1995 to score 10 goals in their first two games of a Bundesliga campaign.

Player to Watch

Jamal Musiala

Following a hectic schedule that would see Bayern Munich facing Borussia Dortmund in midweek, in the DFL Supercup, there is a substantial chance that Flick will like to have Sane rested after half-time this weekend.

It should pave the way for academy product Jamal Musiala to once again make an appearance from the bench. The young attacker, in fact, scored a goal in the 8-0 win over Schalke last weekend and at the age of 17, he has shown a lot of promise and potential.

Given how Bayern Munich have embraced the youth academy in recent years, it won’t be surprising to see Musiala becoming the next breakout star for the Bavarians, after Davies. And so it will be interesting to see how he fares against Hoffenheim if he does get the opportunity to do so in the second half.

Prediction

TSG Hoffenheim 1-2 Bayern Munich

Unlike Schalke, facing a team like Hoffenheim will be no walk in the park for Bayern Munich. The Sinsheim outfit have a great idea of how to implement a wing-back system that should keep the opposing defenders occupied while also giving them the numerical advantage in midfield. However, given Bayern’s form, we expect them to seal a narrow victory this weekend.

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