MX23RW : Wednesday, July 28 05:31:38| >> :600:5853447:5853447:
Jan 2, 2021 at 2.30pm UK at Rhein-Neckar-Arena
HoffenheimHoffenheim
1-3
FreiburgFreiburg
Bebou (58')
Akpoguma (16'), Vogt (82')
FT(HT: 0-3)
Santamaria (7'), Grifo (34' pen.), Adams (42' og.)
Chang-hoon (24'), Hofler (36')

Preview: Hoffenheim vs. Freiburg - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Hoffenheim take on Freiburg in the opening round of Bundesliga fixtures in 2021, with the hosts able to leapfrog their opponents in the table with a victory.

It will not be easy against Freiburg, though, who ended 2020 in some style with three consecutive victories.


Match preview

Hoffenheim manager Sebastian Hoeness pictured in November 2020© Reuters

After a testing period, Hoffenheim ended 2020 on a positive note themselves, recording a surprise 2-1 victory at Borussia Monchengladbach.

It was an uphill battle for Sebastian Hoeness's side after Gladbach forward Marcus Thuram won yet another penalty for his side, with Lars Stindl typically converting from the penalty spot. However, Hoffenheim were arguably the better side for much of the game, with Florian Grillitsch uncharacteristically wasteful in front of goal on a few occasions.

Andrej Kramaric looked back to his best having struck the bar from 25 yards with a superb hit with minimal back-lift, before the Croatian scored his first goal since contracting coronavirus in early October with a nicely-controlled volley after fine work by Ihlas Bebou down the right flank.

Hoffenheim's chances of recording a crucial win increased when Thuram was sent off with around 10 minutes remaining for spitting on an opponent. Ryan Sessegnon had already proved a handful for Marco Rose's side all afternoon, with the Tottenham loanee's space down the left flank increasing with his side's advantage. The 20-year-old displayed the goalscoring instincts which saw him remarkably score 15 league goals for Fulham in the 2017-18 campaign, stabbing home from close range at the back post to earn his side an invaluable victory.

Freiburg head coach Christian Streich pictured on November 7, 2020© Reuters

Freiburg boss Christian Streich, meanwhile, will have been delighted with his side's form at the end of the calendar year, having been edging closer to the relegation zone at one point in the campaign.

Two 2-0 wins over potential relegation rivals Arminia Bielefeld and Schalke 04 had eased any concerns, with a comfortable 4-1 victory against Hertha Berlin showing that Freiburg undoubtedly belong at this level.

Vincenzo Grifo continued his fine form of late with a superb diving header from Jonathan Schmid's brilliantly curled cross, although the forward should have doubled his side's lead when cheekily attempting to chip former Freiburg goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow, with the stopper having none of it.

Dodi Lukebakio punished his opposing forward's profligacy when tapping home at the back post from a deflected cross, but Streich's side rallied in response, with goals from Ermedin Demirovic, Manuel Gulde and Nils Petersen wrapping up a comfortable rout which Streich will be hoping his side can build on in the New Year, beginning with the trip to Hoffenheim.

Hoffenheim Bundesliga form: DDWLLW
Hoffenheim form (all competitions): WWLLWL

Freiburg Bundesliga form: LDDWWW
Freiburg form (all competitions): DDWWWL


Team News

Hoffenheim players celebrate their opening goal against Slovan Liberec on November 5, 2020© Reuters

Hoffenheim have had several injury concerns this season, with Ermin Bicakcic ruled out after sustaining a cruciate ligament rupture earlier in the campaign.

The likes of Pavel Kaderabek, Benjamin Hubner, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Kostas Stafylidis and Diadie Samassekou remain doubtful with the knocks which kept them out prior to the winter break.

The visitors are more fortunate on the availability front, with only Mark Flekken and Janik Haberer ruled out of the trip to Hoffenheim.

Streich is suddenly blessed with attacking options, with the likes of Grifo, Petersen, Demirovic, Roland Sallai and Lucas Holer all competing for places in the offensive areas.

Hoffenheim possible starting lineup:
Baumann; Posch, Vogt, Nordtveit, Sessegnon; Geiger, Grillitsch; Bebou, Kramaric, Baumgartner; Belfodil

Freiburg possible starting lineup:
Muller; Lienhart, Schlotterbeck, Gulde; Schmid, Santamaria, Hofler, Gunter; Sallai, Grifo; Holer


SM words green background

We say: Hoffenheim 1-1 Freiburg

With both teams in solid form prior to the winter break, we can envisage an entertaining draw between two sides who will be hoping to finish in the lower reaches of the top half this season.

Kramaric is the sort of player who can take a game away from any opponent, though, so if he truly is back to his best then Hoeness's side could prevail on the day.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw 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.Home/Draw:data


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Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick pictured in October 2020
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
JapanJapan114520
United StatesUnited States1010929
ChinaChina105823
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia78419
AustraliaAustralia61815
Great BritainGreat Britain56415
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


ROWING
· Team GB have dominated the men's coxless fours in recent Olympics, winning on each of the last five occasions, but this year they face some stiff competition. They are one of four rowing medal contenders for Great Britain today (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· Katie Ledecky and Ariarne Titmus face off again in the women's 200m freestyle final, with the latter having already come out on top in the 400m event (2.41am)
· Team GB's Abbie Wood is among the medal contenders in the women's 200m individual medley final, while teammate Alicia Wilson will also take part. USA's Kate Douglass was the fastest qualifier, while world and Olympic record holder Katinka Hosszu is also involved (3.45am)
· Katie Ledecky could make it two golds in one morning as she goes into the 1500m freestyle final as heavy favourite, having broken the Olympic record in qualifying (3.54am)
· Team GB were by far the fastest qualifiers for the men's 4x200m freestyle relay final and will therefore be favourites for another gold in the pool (4.26am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB take on New Zealand in the first men's semi-final, having been beaten by reigning champions Fiji but then come from behind to overcome USA on day two (3am)
· The sevens gold medal match takes place at Tokyo Stadium, with the winner of Great Britain vs. New Zealand taking on either Argentina or Fiji (10am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Joe Fraser and James Hall compete for Team GB in the men's all-around final (11.15am-2.10pm)

CYCLING
· Anna Shackley will take part in the women's road time trial (from 3.30am)
· Geraint Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart have medal ambitions for Great Britain in the men's road time trial, although both will need to recover from the crash they suffered on Saturday (6am)

DIVING
· Jack Laugher bids to retain his men's 3m synchro diving title alongside new partner Daniel Goodfellow (7am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Charlotte Dujardin will look to add to her already legendary status with a third successive Olympic individual dressage title (9.30am-1.25pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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