???️ TSG 1899 Hoffenheim What You Need To Know

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TSG 1899 Hoffenheim are the opponents we must get past in order to play with the big boys in the Champions League proper this season. In classic Liverpool fashion, we were handed quite possibly the hardest draw in the round. As Hoffenheim are no push overs. In this article, I will take a look at the team, how they performed in pre-season and talk about the key players that will be trying their hardest to make Liverpool’s route to the Champions’ League group phase as difficult as possible. Hoffenheim are relatively new to the Bundesliga, having been a 5th division team in 2000. They were taken over by billionaire software mogul Dietmar Hopp and subsequently rose through the divisions until in 2007 they were promoted to the big time. The Bundesliga. In the 15/16 season Hoffenheim flirted with relegation from the Bundesliga entirely. So when the team rocked up for the 16/17 season and mounted a push for the Champions League spots – it is fair to say they were a surprise package in the division, alongside Naby Keita’s RB Leipzig. Now, going into their 10th year in the top flight they look to make good of their excellent 4th place finish last season and progress to the Champions League proper.   Over the summer, Hoffenheim have played four pre-season matches. Losing once against Serie A team Genoa – while managing to beat Standard liege, Derby County and FC Bologna. Most notably though, after impressing last season, they did lose a couple of key players to Bayern Munich. Niklas Sule and Sebastian Rudy moving to the Bavarian side. Rudy was a major part of the Hoffenheim engine room last season and Sule, one of the brightest centre-back talents in Germany. Both will have been very difficult to replace. In trying to do so, they have brought in a number of players that are not necessarily one-to-one replacements for them, but will offer the manager different tactical options. The versatile Havard Nordtviet was signed from West Ham to provide cover for the midfield and defence and they replaced Rudy with Florian Grillitsch. The midfielder, who came from Werder Bremen on a free transfer, is expected to be the new lynchpin in midfield. Moreover, in defence the team has looked to youth and signed youngster Justin Hoogma from Heracles Almelo. In the hopes, he can be the next Nikilas Sule. Think of that as a parallel to the position Joe Gomez is at Liverpool. The clubs biggest signing however is Serge Gnarby, formally of Arsenal, on loan from Bayern Munich. He was a shining light for Werder Bremen last season, scoring eleven goals and making 2 assists. He was part of the German team that won the U-21 European Championships this summer and the explosive winger will be looking to push on this season and will pose a significant threat tonight to Jurgens Reds. Top scorer Andrej Kreamaric and the highly rated Sandro Wagner will join Gnarby in what will be a highly potent front line for the Rhine-Neckar side. Bobby Firmino’s old side will prove to be a tough test for Liverpool. However, if they harbour any realistic ambitions on winning any silverware this season then this is a team that Liverpool need to be beating. Yes, they did finish 4th last season and had many plaudits for that. It is important to remember though that they were in a relegation battle only the year before that and after losing their highly rated centre back, they could be weak at the back. Salah, Firmino and Mane should make quick work of that. After that Watford game though I am anything but confident in our own back line so perhaps we could expect a lot of goals. Or it will pan out to be another tight European away game. Either way Hoffenheim will be a challenge, a challenge that needs to be overcome. Tom Culshaw
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