Germany: Bundesliga
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Darmstadt
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I. Bebou (2), M. Beier (6), P. Kadeřábek (22), O. Kabak (26), M. Beier (44), I. Bebou (51)
By Moritz Baer@MoritzBaer_UK

Darmstadt vs Hoffenheim preview: Hoffenheim knocking on the door of top seven

Hoffenheim have one clear objective in the game away against bottom side Darmstadt on Sunday afternoon and this is to win and leapfrog Freiburg in seventh place to bring about European football.

Darmstadt


Darmstadt were picked apart by Ralph Hasenhüttl's Wolfsburg side last weekend by a margin of three goals away from home. 

The Lillies struggled to create any chances really and with only the single shot on target and look resigned from the season since their relegation has been confirmed.

Shipping an enormous 76 goals in the league this campaign, Torsten Lieberknecht's side have had the leakiest defence this campaign.

However, the overall goal will no doubt be to finish the campaign off on a positive and to one-up the unlikely 3-3 draw Darmstadt earnt in December despite having an expected goals tally of 0.81.

Lastly, ahead of the game against Hoffenheim, Darmstadt manager Torsten Lieberknecht said: “Hoffenheim will be a highly motivated side who have the opportunity to get into Europe. TSG have good individual players like Andrej Kramaric and Maximilian Beier.”

Team news

Much to the tone of the entire season, Darmstadt are still struggling with injuries: Fraser Hornby is out with an ankle injury, Clemens Riedl is unavailable with a foot injury, Fabian Holland is out with a knee injury and Braydon Manu is struggling with muscular issues so will be out for the game.

Christoph Zimmerman is suspended as he has amassed five yellow cards. Adding to this, Matthias Bader, Klaus Gjasula, Tobias Kempe and Matej Maglica are all doubts for Sunday's match.

Hoffenheim

Last week signalled a strong draw and comeback from a goal down for Pellegrino Matarazzo's side thanks to Andrej Kramaric. 

This was the Croatian's second goal on the 90th minute or beyond the rescue a draw, as he also scored during this period against Köln earlier this campaign.

He has relit his form this season and has worked his way back into the starting eleven through netting twelve in Germany's top flight in the 23-24 season.

Hoffenheim are hunting down European football once again, having not been in any European competitions since the 2020-21 season where they were in the Europa League.

On a positive note, Hoffenheim are one of only three teams to have two players who have scored 12 plus goals this season (Maximilian Beier and Andrej Kramaric) with the other two being Leipzig and Stuttgart.

Crucially, TSG Hoffenheim are the highest scoring side outside of the top five with fifty-six goals this campaign.

Lastly, ahead of the game with Darmstadt, Pellegrino Matarazzo said: “We will focus on ourselves, then we have everything in our hands. Darmstadt is not your average relegation team.”

Team news

Marco John is out for Hoffenheim with a knee injury. Stanley Nsoki and Mergim Berisha will be missing with hip and knee injuries respectively. 

Lastly, the ever-injured Dennis Geiger continues to be out with a groin issue.

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