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Preview: Arminia Bielefeld vs. Hoffenheim - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between Arminia Bielefeld and Hoffenheim, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Still in with a fighting chance of securing Bundesliga survival, Arminia Bielefeld welcome Hoffenheim to Bielefelder Alm for the penultimate round of fixtures in the 2020-21 season.

The hosts held Hertha Berlin to a goalless stalemate in their most recent outing, while mid-table Hoffenheim enjoyed a comfortable win over Schalke 04.


Match preview

Arminia Bielefeld coach Frank Kramer reacts on May 9, 2021© Reuters

An inconsistent but largely solid run of results since the turn of the year has Arminia firmly in a capable position to avoid an immediate demotion back down to the 2. Bundesliga, but Frank Kramer's men have just two games remaining to try to climb out of the bottom three.

Since replacing Uwe Neuhaus at the helm, Kramer has endured a mixed bag of results - three wins, four draws and three defeats from his opening 10 games in charge - but a 0-0 draw with a rejuvenated Hertha Berlin side can certainly be viewed as a positive result.

Arminia's tally of 31 points from 32 matches sees them occupy the relegation playoff spot as things stand, with 17th-placed Koln just two points behind Kramer's side, while Werder Bremen are only ahead of their relegation rivals on goal difference with two games to go.

Kramer has overseen just one defeat in his last six games in charge of Arminia - a 5-0 hammering at the hands of Borussia Monchengladbach - and four of those matches have ended with Arminia and their new-found defensive resilience keeping clean sheets.

The hosts have not managed to string three consecutive home wins together all season, but back-to-back 1-0 victories over Freiburg and Schalke 04 has instilled belief that a crucial win could be on the cards here, especially seeing as Hoffenheim have nothing to play for anymore.

Hoffenheim coach Sebastian Hoeness pictured on February 18, 2021© Reuters

With the pressure off as the season draws to a close, Hoffenheim's fortunes have taken a turn for the better in weeks gone by, but it is far too late for Sebastian Hoeness's side to make those results count for anything worthwhile.

A resounding 4-2 win over relegated Schalke last time out saw Hoffenheim stretch their unbeaten run to five games, as Andrej Kramaric, Christoph Baumgartner, Kevin Akpoguma and Ihlas Bebou made the net ripple on the day.

A top-half finish is not beyond Hoffenheim's reach at this very late stage, but five points separate them from ninth-placed Freiburg, and there is little reason for Hoeness's side to go all out and risk exacerbating their injury problems before the campaign concludes.

Nine points taken from the last 15 on offer is a positive step forward, though, but the only two wins in that sequence have come on home soil, with Hoeness aiming to end a seven-game winless run on the road stretching all the way back to January this week.

The first meeting between these two sides earlier in the season ended goalless, and the only previous clash on Arminia's turf came all the way back in the 2008-09 season, during which Hoffenheim secured a comfortable 2-0 win.

Arminia Bielefeld Bundesliga form:
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D

Hoffenheim Bundesliga form:
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W



Team News

Arminia Bielefeld's Manuel Prietl celebrates their first goal against Bayern Munich in October 2020© Reuters

Arminia remain rather fortunate on the injury front, and there is optimism that Sergio Cordova and Reinhold Yabo could make the squad following COVID-related absences.

Japanese midfielder Masaya Okugawa had to come off with a knock after 74 minutes against Hertha, though, and it remains to be seen if he will be given the green light to play despite taking part in training.

Anderlecht loanee Michel Vlap is in contention to start if Okugawa is not passed fit, with Marcel Hartel - yet to score or assist this season - expected to warm the bench again.

Hoffenheim's injury list is far more alarming by comparison, with Benjamin Hubner, Ermin Bicakcic, Dennis Geiger, Oliver Baumann and Chris Richards all likely to miss the final two games of the season.

Baumgartner will also sit this one out after sustaining an ankle injury during training, while striker Munas Dabbur has returned to Israel for personal reasons.

Few changes can be expected on the visitors' end following their comfortable win over Schalke, but a change in formation could see Sebastian Rudy come back into the midfield as Robert Skov fills in for Baumgartner on the left.

Arminia Bielefeld possible starting lineup:
Ortega; Brunner, Pieper, Nilsson, Lucoqui; Prietl, Maier, Vlap; Doan, Klos, Voglsammer

Hoffenheim possible starting lineup:
Pentke; Kaderabek, Posch, Akpoguma, Sessegnon; Samassekou; Bebou, Grillitsch, Rudy, Skov; Kramaric


SM words green background

We say: Arminia Bielefeld 1-1 Hoffenheim

Arminia have far more to play for than Hoffenheim do at this stage and are not going down without a fight, so we anticipate a close affair this weekend.

Despite a recent upturn in results, Hoffenheim continue to struggle for form away from home, and we can see Kramer's hosts doing enough to claim another point in the battle to avoid the drop.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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How you voted: Arminia Bielefeld vs Hoffenheim

Arminia Bielefeld
32.8%
Draw
29.7%
Hoffenheim
37.5%
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Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick pictured on April 10, 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CBayern MunichBayern34246499445578
2RB Leipzig34198760322865
3Borussia DortmundDortmund342041075462964
4Wolfsburg341710761372461
5Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt341612669531660
6Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen3414101053391452
7Union BerlinUnion Berlin34121485043750
8Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach341310116456849
9Stuttgart34129135655145
10Freiburg34129135252045
11Hoffenheim341110135254-243
12Mainz 0534109153956-1739
13Augsburg34106183654-1836
14Hertha Berlin34811154152-1135
15Arminia Bielefeld3498172652-2635
16FC Koln3489173460-2633
RWerder Bremen34710173657-2131
RSchalke 04Schalke3437242586-6116

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