TSG 1899 Hoffenheim go up against an in-form Leipzig at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena on Saturday in what should be an entertaining encounter.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side have dropped out of the European places and have won just once in the league in over two months, which came in a victory at rock bottom 1. FC Köln. What is perhaps more concerning is that the strong home form that they enjoyed earlier this season seems to be diminishing having failed to pick up three points in their last three home games, which included a defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Opponents Leipzig conversely have won three of their last four games in all competitions in a run which includes a spectacular 4-1 win away to AS Monaco which keeps them in contention to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions league.
On the domestic front, they have won five of their last seven Bundesliga matches and have pulled themselves to second place in the table, the position they occupied in their debut Bundesliga campaign last season.
Pavel Kaderabek looks likely to be given the nod to replace the suspended Kevin Vogt, who will miss the game through suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season. Otherwise, despite Hoffenheim’s indifferent run of late, Nagelsmann looks set to keep faith with the same line up from last week. Centre-back Benjamin Hübner looks set to miss out once again with a knee injury which has kept him out since the start of the month.
RB Leipzig will be unchanged from last week’s 2-0 win over Werder Bremen. Marcel Halstenberg was a slight doubt ahead of this fixture but looks to have shaken off the sore thigh injury that saw him replaced at half-time in that game.
Mark Uth (Hoffenheim): Although perhaps not the most auspicious name in Nagelsmann’s squad, the 26-year-old forward has made a valuable contribution to their season. Now a first-team regular since moving back to Germany from Eredivisie side Heerenveen, Uth has hit nine goals already this campaign. He has found the net six times in the Bundesliga, including both goals when beating Bayern Munich 2-0 in September. The German also scored in both Champions League qualifying legs against Liverpool.
Timo Werner (Leipzig): Still only 21-years-old, Werner has already notched up over 130 games at club level having made his debut for first club VfB Stuttgart whilst just 17. After die Roten dropped into the second tier, then newly-promoted Leipzig pounced, snapping him up for a €10 million fee. He now features regularly for the German national side, little surprise considering he has scored seven goals in 10 matches for die Mannschaft. For Leipzig this season he has 11 goals in 18 games in all competitions as he continues to go from strength-to-strength.
Whilst they occupy seventh spot in the Bundesliga, they are not in particularly good form both domestically and in European competition. Leipzig meanwhile have risen to second place in the table and are now just three points behind leaders Bayern, following the league leaders’ defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach last week. It was a 2-2 draw in last season’s corresponding fixture but I believe the momentum Leipzig are on will be enough to secure victory.
Hoffenheim 1 -3 RB Leipzig
By Jonathan Shelley.