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Matarazzo lists Kaderabek and Akpoguma as questionable for Wolfsburg, lauds Baumann

By Peter Weis   @PeterVicey

Speaking at his Thursday presser, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim trainer Pellegrino Matarazzo listed two of his defensive starters from last week as questionable for this weekend's encounter against Wolfsburg. 

The American head-coach also had some special praise for his in-form German goalkeeper following his call-up to Hansi Flick's national team earlier in the day. 
Pellegrino Matarazzo
Pellegrino MatarazzoTSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Hoffenheim's leaky and unbalanced defensive corps received further bad news this week. TSG trainer Pellegrino Matarazzo confirmed that two of his starters from last week, Kevin Akpoguma and Pavel Kaderabek, were questionable for this weekend's encounter against Wolfsburg whilst speaking at his Thursday presser. Akpoguma has been feeling ill. Kaderabek played through injury in the comeback victory against Heidenheim, but hasn't been able to train fully this week. Youngster Marco John is also out. Ozan Kabak - struggling with illness as well - is questionable.

Matarazzo's roster remains stacked with central defenders, but the loss of two players who can be deployed at the wide fullback/wingback positions leaves the American head-coach short on options. Having no natural left wing back, Matarazzo has been using Marius Bülter on a deeper flank access. Results have proved very poor. Matarazzo has no player other than Kaderabek capable of operating as a right back. The TSG gaffer used Ihlas Bebou on the back right wing a few times last season, but the attacker often interpreted the role too offensively.

Matarazzo strongly hinted that Julian Justvan would receive the assignment. Justin is one of three former VfL Wolfsburg players - defender John Antony Brooks and striker Wout Weghorst being the others - who could feature in the starting XI against their old club. The TSG trainer must plan his squad carefully as Germany's green company team have one of the most potent attacks in the league. Matarazzo again described his defense as "inconsistent" and "in need of plenty of improvement."

"Julian Justvan knows the [right wingback] role from his time at Paderborn and also worked at the position during training camp," Matarazzo said, "The first two games had their ups and downs. We formulated a pre-season goal centered around consistency and we're not there yet. There's much room for improvement when it comes to issues such as winning second balls, unity, compactness, and penetration."

Matarazzo's propus defense may not matter all that much if keeper and newly-anointed captain Oliver Baumann can maintain his current form. Matarazzo took time to congratulate the 33-year-old on his second call up to the senior German national team earlier today. The affable and very popular within German footballing circles net-minder might earn his first cap at the highest level over the coming international break.

"Oli is in absolute top form," Matarazzo said, "The subtleness and, at the same time power, balance and technique with which he works as well how he currently influences in our game, how he communicates. For me, that makes him a top goalkeeper in Germany."

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