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

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

Stuttgart take on Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Sunday, with both sides heading into the match on impressive four-match unbeaten runs.

The visitors can move level on points with their forthcoming opponents with a victory, although it would take a five-goal swing to move ahead of them in the table due to having an inferior goal difference.


Match preview

Silas Wamangituka in action for Stuttgart on January 2, 2021© Reuters

Stuttgart continue to perform above expectations in their first season back in the Bundesliga, remaining in the top half of the table after last weekend's 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Andre Silva spurned a golden opportunity for Frankfurt early in the encounter, nonchalantly attempting to backheel past Gregor Kobel after being played through on goal by Filip Kostic.

Sasa Kalajdzic scored for the sixth consecutive match against the run of play, with his effort deflecting off Martin Hinteregger and past a helpless Kevin Trapp, before Kostic's fine strike across goal salvaged a point for the hosts.

In truth, Stuttgart were a little fortunate to gain anything from the game, with Kalajdzic's strike their only shot on target across the 90 minutes. Pellegrino Matarazzo may still have half an eye on securing an unlikely Europa League qualification place, though, with a win against Hoffenheim on Sunday potentially taking them to seventh in the table.

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

Hoffenheim, meanwhile, appear to have come out of the other side from their extremely difficult period, which at one point looked like it could pull them into an unlikely relegation battle, having also been dumped out of the Europa League by Molde.

Indeed, Sebastian Hoeness's side secured an impressive 2-1 win against Wolfsburg last weekend, ending the Wolves' unbeaten run of nine matches.

Oliver Glasner's side had not even conceded a league goal for 666 minutes prior to their trip to Hoffenheim, but Christoph Baumgartner ended that in emphatic fashion with his powerful effort clattering in off the underside of the bar.

Wout Weghorst raced in behind Hoffenheim's trademark high line to level the proceedings with a calm finish, with the Dutchman missing an excellent opportunity to provide his side the lead, before Andrej Kramaric obliged with a simple finish at the back post four minutes prior to the half-time interval which ultimately proved enough to claim a crucial victory.

Hoeness will now have his sights set on securing a fifth successive top-half finish for the club, with the fitness and form of Kramaric likely to be crucial in terms of achieving that.

Stuttgart Bundesliga form:
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D

Stuttgart form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • D

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

Hoffenheim form (all competitions):
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W


Team News

Nicolas Gonzalez in action for Stuttgart on November 7, 2020© Reuters

Stuttgart are likely to remain without Nicolas Gonzalez with a hamstring injury, while Lilian Egloff and Clinton Mola continue to be sidelined.

Konstantinos Mavropanos was substituted during the draw at Frankfurt with a calf problem, but the former Arsenal defender should shake it off to feature, while captain Gonzalo Castro should also start.

Hoffenheim, meanwhile, continue to have a whole host of absentees, with Philipp Pentke, Kevin Vogt, Kostas Stafylidis, Mijat Gacinovic, Stefan Posch, Havard Nordtveit, Kevin Akpoguma, Dennis Geiger, Ermin Bicakcic and Benjamin Hubner all unlikely to make the trip to Stuttgart.

As such, Florian Grillitsch may continue to deputise in the heart of Hoeness's defensive line, with Kramaric and Ihlas Bebou carrying the offensive threat.

Stuttgart possible starting lineup:
Kobel; Mavropanos, Anton, Kempf; Wamangituka, Endo, Mangala, Sosa; Castro, Coulibaly; Kalajdzic

Hoffenheim possible starting lineup:
Baumann; Kasim, Grillitsch, Richards; Kaderabek, Rudy, Samassekou, John; Baumgartner; Bebou, Kramaric


SM words green background

We say: Stuttgart 2-2 Hoffenheim

We can envisage an entertaining score draw on Sunday, with both of these sides capable of producing lightning attacks.

Indeed, both sides are scoring and conceding more than 1.5 goals per game this season, so it would be a huge surprise if either goalkeeper had a quiet afternoon.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win 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/Away:data


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How you voted: Stuttgart vs Hoffenheim

Stuttgart
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Draw
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Hoffenheim
14.3%
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Friday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

ROWING
· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
· Great Britain will be going for gold in the men's eight final (2.25am)

SWIMMING
· Team GB duo Molly Renshaw and Abbie Wood take part in the women's 200m breaststroke final, but new Olympic record-holder Tatjana Schoenmaker of South Africa is the hot favourite (2.41am)
· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
· There is also British representation in the women's 100m freestyle final, although any medal for Anna Hopkin would be a surprise (2.59am)
· With one gold and one silver already under his belt at these Games, Duncan Scott goes again in the men's 200m individual medley final (3.16am)

TRAMPOLINE
· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

CANOE SLALOM
· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

FOOTBALL
· The women's tournament enters the quarter-finals, with Great Britain facing Australia at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium (10am)

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