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Mar 12, 2022 at 2.30pm UK at Rhein-Neckar-Arena
Hoffenheim
1 - 1
Bayern
Baumgartner (32')
Samassekou (30'), Grillitsch (38'), Rutter (45+1'), Posch (66')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Lewandowski (45+3')
Hernandez (44')

Preview: Hoffenheim vs. Bayern Munich - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Bayern Munich will be looking to extend their advantage at the top of the Bundesliga when they travel to high-flying Hoffenheim on Saturday.

The hosts have won four on the bounce as they go in search of a surprise return to the Champions League, whilst the visitors silenced a few doubters with a thumping win in Europe in midweek.


Match preview

Hoffenheim's Stefan Posch celebrates scoring their first goal on March 6, 2022© Reuters

Hoffenheim strengthened their chances of returning to Europe's grand stage by recording a hard-fought win at fellow top-four hopefuls FC Koln last weekend.

The RheinEnergieStadion is one of the toughest venues to visit in Germany, but despite missing a host of glorious opportunities, Sebastian Hoeness's side came away with all three points thanks to Stefan Posch's goal just after the hour mark.

As mentioned above, the impressive result stretched Hoffenheim's winning streak to four in the Bundesliga, and was one that lifted Die Kraichgauer into fourth place in the table.

Heading into matchday 26 at the weekend, Hoffenheim boast a two-point advantage over their closest chasers RB Leipzig and Freiburg, who drew in their meeting last week, but with the league leaders coming to town, Hoeness's side could well find themselves back outside the top four come the end of the weekend.

However, despite Bayern's decade of dominance in Germany's top flight, Hoffenheim's PreZero Arena is one of the stadiums where their record is not quite so remarkable.

In fact, in the last five fixtures played on Hoffenheim turf, the hosts have come out on top on three occasions, including an emphatic 4-1 triumph in the 2020-21 campaign.

The home side will therefore possess plenty of confidence in their game on Saturday, and a fifth straight win will go a long way to securing a Champions League spot come May should they manage to pull off another upset against the champions.

Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on March 7, 2022© Reuters

Meanwhile, up until Tuesday's visit of Red Bull Salzburg, Bayern would have been heading to the PreZero Arena on the back of their most questionable run of form all season.

The Bavarians had only lost once in their previous five, which is hardly a disaster, but considering the standards that have been set at the Allianz Arena across the nine consecutive title wins, the drop in performance levels and results has certainly stood out.

A shock 4-2 defeat at newly-promoted VfL Bochum was the most remarkable result of the Bundesliga season so far, and after stumbling to a 1-1 draw at Salzburg thanks to Kingsley Coman's late equaliser a few days later, doubts began to creep in regarding Bayern's complacency.

Although the back-to-back setbacks were followed up by successive wins over Greuther Furth and Eintracht Frankfurt, both results were far from convincing, and Julian Nagelsmann's league leaders were some distance away from their usual excellence.

A 1-1 draw at home to Bayer Leverkusen last weekend followed, and with Borussia Dortmund's match at Mainz 05 being postponed, Bayern missed the chance to extend their lead at the summit to 11 points.

Instead, Saturday's visitors boast a nine-point advantage in their pursuit of a 10th successive Bundesliga title, but with BVB possessing that game in hand, the push for the title remains a two-horse race for the time being.

However, when doubts begin to surface around this Bayern machine, their true brilliance is unveiled, and that is exactly what was put on show for the doubters to witness when they welcomed Salzburg to the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.

A 7-1 hammering later, largely thanks to a Robert Lewandowski hat-trick inside the opening 23 minutes, and the questions were brushed away for now, but the Bavarians will be eager to follow that up with another statement win at a tricky venue on Saturday.

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

Bayern Munich Bundesliga form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D

Bayern Munich form (all competitions):
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W



Team News

Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann celebrates their fifth goal on March 8, 2022© Reuters

Hoffenheim could well miss a couple of key defenders again this weekend, with captain Benjamin Hubner likely to remain out due to COVID-19, whilst Chris Richards's availability against his parent club remains to be seen despite a return to training.

Ermin Bicakcic, Havard Nordtveit, Sebastian Rudy and Robert Skov all remain sidelined, but Dennis Geiger is in contention to return to the midfield following a head injury.

After missing several chances last weekend, Ihlas Bebou could drop out of the starting 11, with 19-year-old Georginio Rutter an option to deputise should Hoeness look to utilise his pace on the break.

As for the visitors, Manuel Neuer is back between the posts following his return to the side on Tuesday, and Corentin Tolisso and Leon Goretzka are also nearing returns from respective injuries.

The duo are unlikely to return on Saturday though, despite a return to training, whilst Alphonso Davies remains unavailable for the foreseeable future due to his ongoing heart problems.

Nagelsmann could therefore name the same starting 11 that won so convincingly in midweek, which means Dayot Upamecano may have to settle for a place amongst the substitutes once more.

Hoffenheim possible starting lineup:
Baumann; Posch, Grillitsch, Akpoguma; Kaderabek, Baumgartner, Samassekou, Stiller, Raum; Rutter, Kramaric

Bayern Munich possible starting lineup:
Neuer; Pavard, Sule, Hernandez; Kimmich, Musiala; Gnabry, Muller, Sane, Coman; Lewandowski


SM words green background

We say: Hoffenheim 1-3 Bayern Munich

Hoffenheim are likely to cause this shaky Bayern defence some problems on Saturday, especially given their excellent recent form, but with several defensive absentees, they could struggle to contain this deadly opposition strikeforce.

If Lewandowski and co can replicate their exceptional standards of midweek, then there's no reason why Bayern will not stroll to another comfortable victory despite the calibre of their hosts.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 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 2.5:data


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How you voted: Hoffenheim vs Bayern

Hoffenheim
10.1%
Draw
10.1%
Bayern Munich
79.7%
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Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring their third goal to complete his hat-trick on March 8, 2022
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