Though Niko Kovac’s side finished 2018 in fine form, they trail Borussia Dortmund by six points and can ill-afford a slip against opponents who are chasing European football next season.
A sixth win in succession, however, would send a message to BVB that the title race is far from over as the new year begins.
|Game||Hoffenheim vs Bayern Munich|
|Date||Friday, January 18|
|Time||7:30pm GMT / 2:30pm ET|
|Stream (US)||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial).
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|FOX Sports 1||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on BT Sport 1 and livestreamed on BT Sport Live.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|BT Sport 1||BT Sport Live|
Squads & Team News
|Defenders||Vogt, Adams, Hubner, Bicakcic, Nordtveit, Hoogma, Posch, Kaderabek, Brenet|
|Midfielders||Geiger, Demirbay, Grillitsch, Schulz, Amiri, Bittencourt, Baumgartner|
|Forwards||Hack, Nelson, Kramaric, Joelinton, Belfodil, Szalai, Otto|
Hoffenheim have named a strong squad for this encounter, though Lukas Rupp is injured.
Illness means that striker Robin Hack misses out, while Havard Nordtveit is also out with a virus. A lung infection has also prevented Ermin Bicakcic from featuring.
Hoffenheim starting XI: Baumann; Posch, Vogt, Hubner; Kaderabek, Demirbay, Belfodil, Schulz; Bittencourt, Joelinton, Kramaric
|Position||Bayern Munich players|
|Defenders||Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Alaba, Boateng|
|Midfielders||Martinez, Gnabry, Goretzka, James, Rafinha, Rodriguez, Davies, Thiago|
|Forwards||Coman, Lewandowski, Muller, Wagner|
Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben are both sidelined for Bayern Munich, who are also without long-term absentee Corentin Tolisso. Renato Sanches is suspended and cannot play.
Javi Martinez has overcome a knock to make the starting lineup, while James Rodriguez is on the bench after not playing since November due to a knee injury.
Bayern Munich starting XI: Neuer; Kimmich, Sule, Hummels, Alaba; Martinez; Thiago, Goretzka; Muller, Lewandowski, Coman
Betting & Match Odds
Bayern Munich are priced at 1/2 to win, according to bet 365, while a draw is available at 15/4. A win for Hoffenheim is priced at 9/4.
Bayern Munich failed to finish the Bundesliga in top position at Christmas for the first time in eight years, and they have set about putting a plan in place to ensure that it does not happen again.
The Allianz Arena side have been very active in the transfer window in the first half of January, completing a move to sign Alphonso Davies from the Vancouver Whitecaps and doing their best to add Chelsea talent Callum Hudson-Odoi to their ranks, much to the chagrin of the Blues.
There has, however, been little attempt to sign a recognised star and indeed it seems likelier that one may go out the exit door, with Kovac having admitted that James Rodriguez is “playing for his future”.
Meanwhile, the coach is looking forward to the challenge of hunting down first-placed Dortmund.
“I see my lads want to take on the chase,” he said. “We want to and have to win the match to up the pressure against Dortmund.
“You never know how you'll start, where you are. As at the beginning of the season, you hope to start with a very good result. We need that, and we all know it.”
Hoffenheim boss Julian Nagelsmann will celebrate his 100th Bundesliga match, despite being only 31 years old.
After an injury crisis struck his squad in the first half of the campaign, he is eager for his players to put up a strong fight.
“It's important not to run up the white flag when the red bus arrives,” he said. “Bayern are under a certain amount of pressure on Friday. If they don't win the match it's a signal for the other teams at the top.”