Stuttgart vs. Hoffenheim preview:
A coaching reunion in desperate times
By Jonathan Dicks @Jonathan_Dicks
Both Sebastian Hoeneß and Pellegrino Matarazzo are coaching against their former clubs on Saturday, as Stuttgart badly need a result to avoid a catastrophic drop.
Last week’s convincing win over Mainz means Stuttgart are currently safe, hanging on by a thread in 15th place. But, they’re tied on points with 16th-place Bochum and will likely need at least a point on Matchday 34 for survival.
They’ll be hoping to rekindle last season’s heroics when they magically stayed up on the last day at home. It’s a special matchup for trainer Sebastian Hoeneß, who faces Hoffenheim for the first time since his firing.
This week, Hoeneß said, “What I’ve experienced in Stuttgart so far has exceeded anything I ever imagined. The fan support is just outstanding – not only during games and not only at home, but away from home too. Once again, we’ll do all we can to provide the spark which will enable us to experience a Saturday we can all look back on fondly.”
Thomas Kastanaras and Dan-Axel Zagadou are out, but Konstantinos Mavropanos and Borna Sosa should both be back at full fitness.
Hoffenheim’s surprising win over Union on Matchday 33 means the club have secured a spot in yet another Bundesliga season. This is because of Bochum’s atrocious goal difference, who sit three points behind the club.
Pellegrino Matarazzo is playing against the side that fired him earlier this season and will use this as motivation despite not having much to play for. Bochum and Schalke fans will be pulling for Hoffenheim, hoping the club can get a result to aid their own survival dreams.
The trainer shared, "I look forward of course to seeing many people in Stuttgart again. But, I am mainly excited for my lads. We are up for Saturday and want to finish the season on a positive note."
Kevin Akpoguma, Pavel Kaderabek, and Kevin Vogt are unavailable with injuries. Dennis Geiger is doubtful, but Robert Skov will likely return to the squad. It was just announced that Thomas Delaney and Kasper Dolberg will not return to the club next season.