Hoffenheim - Borussia Dortmund Preview: Bayern slip gives champions chance to close gap
Jurgen Klopp's men will be hoping for a few early Christmas presents and a much-needed win as they prepare to take on the league's leakiest defence at the Rhein Neckar Arena
By Harry Slavin
Beck, Delpierre, Compper, Johnson
Williams, Rudy, Salihovic
Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer
Kuba, Gotze, Reus
Borussia Dortmund go into their game against Hoffenheim this Sunday knowing that they have the opportunity to cut Bayern Munich's advantage at the top of the table down to 12 points after the runaway leaders were held at home by Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday evening.
Dortmund are expected to name an unchanged side for their visit to Rhein Neckar Arena, despite their frustrating 3-2 home defeat to Wolfsburg last weekend.
Jurgen Klopp can once again call on the services of Marcel Schmelzer after the it was decided that his questionable sending off in the last round did not merit a suspension.
Moritz Leitner is also expected to keep his place alongside Ilkay Gundogan in midfield as both Sven Bender and Sebastian Kehl are still sidelined with groin and knee problems, respectively.
The hosts meanwhile have no fresh injury or suspension worries as they prepare to take on the German champions.
Hoffenheim lost their first game under the guidance Frank Kramer against Hamburg last weekend, following the dismissal of coach Markus Babbel and the interim trainer will be hoping for better fortune against Dortmund with his side currently sitting six points adrift of safety in the relegation play-off spot.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Hoffenheim have the leakiest defence in the entire Bundesliga having already conceded 38 goals this season, nine more than any other side in the league.
- The side's fans have had little to cheer about at Rhein Neckar Arena of late with the team losing all of its last three home games.
- The Sinsheim outfit has lost just twice in their last eight league games with BVB.
- Borussia Dortmund are in danger of going four league games without a win on Sunday, something they haven't suffered since September 2009.
- The German champions have already lost 3 matches this season, the same number they lost in their entire 2011/12 campaign.
- Coach Jurgen Klopp suggested full-back Marcel Schmelzer (pictured, right) should have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace after the way he conducted himself after being wrongly dismissed in their 3-2 defeat to Wolfsburg last weekend.
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Top 3 Predictions
Hoffenheim 1-3 Borussia Dortmund
- 15.9 %
Hoffenheim 0-3 Borussia Dortmund
- 11.54 %
Hoffenheim 0-2 Borussia Dortmund
- 10.26 %
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||May 18, 2013||Borussia Dortmund 1 - Hoffenheim 2|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Dec 16, 2012||Hoffenheim 1 - Borussia Dortmund 3|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Jan 28, 2012||Borussia Dortmund 3 - Hoffenheim 1|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Aug 13, 2011||Hoffenheim 1 - Borussia Dortmund 0|
|1. Bundesliga (GER1)||Mar 12, 2011||Hoffenheim 1 - Borussia Dortmund 0|
|Dec 3, 2013||Schalke 04 1 - Hoffenheim 3||GERC|
|Nov 30, 2013||Hoffenheim 4 - Werder Bremen 4||GER1|
|Nov 23, 2013||FC Augsburg 2 - Hoffenheim 0||GER1|
|Nov 9, 2013||Hoffenheim 2 - Hertha BSC 3||GER1|
|Nov 2, 2013||Hoffenheim 1 - FC Bayern München 2||GER1|
The American has played more minutes than anyone else in a Hoffenheim shirt this season and has even managed to get on the scoresheet a few times. Johnson has netted 3 times for the Sinsheim outfit this season and only the injured Joselu has more goals to his name. The versatile wideman will probably have to restrain his forays as he is likely to face the threat of Gotze on the flank.
After a slow start to the season, the Pole is now firmly at the top of Dortmund's goalscoring charts, having netted 9 times in the opening 16 Bindesliga matches. However, if the in-demand forward is to keep up his form, he will have to prove he can score Hoffenheim for the first time in his career. However, with the opponents defence giving out more presents than Saint Nicholas himself, Lewandowski will fancy his chances of opening his account at the Rhein Neckar Arena this time around.
Hoffenheim are in real trouble at the moment and parting company with Markus Babbel hasn't appeared to have steadied the ship. They have had issues on and off the pitch but you have to fear for a side that has shipped 9 more goals than any other side in the division and failed to pick up a single point in their last 3 home fixtures. Dortmund's record in Hoffenheim is fairly dismal but their performances on the road this season have been inexplicably more assured than their displays at the Signal Iduna Park and I expect them to pick up the three points in Sinsheim on Sunday.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed