Hoffenheim vs. Wolfsburg preview:
Two clubs heading in opposite directions
By Jonathan Dicks @Jonathan_Dicks
Hoffenheim haven't won a Bundesliga match in a month, while Wolfsburg are playing to claim their 9th straight competitive game without a loss at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena on Saturday.
|Photo: Богдан Заяц, Football.ua, CC BY-SA 3.0|
Hoffenheim have three losses and a draw in their last four league games, which includes a defeat to Frankfurt on Matchday 14. They've dropped to 10th in the table and last beat Schalke in mid-October.
Ozan Kabak is seemingly the only defender settled in Hoffenheim's back-line, which could rotate again on Saturday. But, injury concerns are really starting to pile up.
Efficient scorer Munas Dabbur is out, while Grischa Prömel, who by far covers the most amount of ground in this squad, is also unavailable until 2023.
Discussing his team's injuries, Andre Breitenreiter said, "We cannot ignore the fact that we have missed an important player in Ihlas Bebou over the first half of the season. Now that we have more long-term absentees, we need to see how we manage this."
Bebou, Dabbur, Prömel, Benjamin Hübner and Luca Philipp won't feature. Stanley Nsoki and Sebastian Rudy are both sick and are questionable.
The company club are somehow up to 8th in league play and are without a defeat in their last seven Bundesliga matches. They comfortably claimed all three points against Dortmund midweek, as sticking with Niko Kovac is starting to pay off in dividends.
A lot of their play can be attributed to their young, attacking talent up front. They have lots of different options including Omar Marmoush, Felix Nmecha and Jakub Kaminski, while Jonas Wind has now fully recovered from his injury.
Defender Micky van de Ven has been on the pitch for every single minute of every single Wolfsburg contest this season. Maxence Lacroix is struggling to find game time, but with this run of form, Kovac doesn't need to change anything.
Wolfsburg's trainer stated, "We are having a good run at the moment, but we don't want anything as a gift. Above all, we know that tomorrow we will have to deal with a very playful and running strong team. We can expect another fight over 90 minutes with hopefully a good ending for us."
Bartol Franjic, Kevin Paredes and Lukas Nmecha are out for the final matchday of 2022. Josip Breklao and Patrick Wimmer are sick and will not travel with the team. Max Kruse is still not a part of the squad.