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Bundesliga

  • December 16, 2012
  • • 14:30
  • • Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena, Sinsheim
  • Referee: F. Meyer
  • • Attendance: 30150
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Hoffenheim - Borussia Dortmund Preview: Bayern slip gives champions chance to close gap

Hoffenheim - Borussia Dortmund Preview: Bayern slip gives champions chance to close gap

Bongarts

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

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

HOFFENHEIM
Hoffenheim
Casteels
Beck, Delpierre, Compper, Johnson
Williams, Rudy, Salihovic
Volland, Derdiyok
Firmino
DORTMUND

Weidenfeller
Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer
Gundogan, Leitner
Kuba, Gotze, Reus
Lewandowski

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.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
30Koen CasteelsGoalkeeper
2Andreas BeckDefender
5Marvin CompperDefender
17Matthieu DelpierreDefender
16Fabian JohnsonDefender
17Stephan SchröckDefender
6Sebastian RudyMidfielder
17Tobias WeisMidfielder
23Sejad SalihovicMidfielder
9Sven SchipplockStriker
31Kevin VollandStriker
13Jens GrahlGoalkeeper
2Patrick OchsMidfielder
10Roberto FirminoMidfielder
39Takashi UsamiStriker
-Denis StrekerMidfielder
19Eren DerdiyokStriker
39JoseluStriker
1Roman WeidenfellerGoalkeeper
4Neven SuboticDefender
15Mats HummelsDefender
26Lukasz PiszczekDefender
6Sven BenderMidfielder
8Ilkay GündoganMidfielder
19Mario GötzeMidfielder
11Marco ReusMidfielder
16Jakub BlaszczykowskiMidfielder
19Kevin GroßkreutzMidfielder
8Moritz LeitnerMidfielder
7Robert LewandowskiStriker
20Mitchell LangerakGoalkeeper
21Oliver KirchMidfielder
5Felipe SantanaDefender
-Marcel HalstenbergDefender
9Ivan PerisicMidfielder
-Jonas HofmannMidfielder
23Julian SchieberStriker
Players to Watch
Fabian Johnson
Fabian Johnson
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 16
Games Goals YC RC
3 0 0 0
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.
Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 7
Games Goals YC RC
3 1 0 0
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.
Prediction
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.
Editor's Prediction

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