Germany: Bundesliga
3 - 1
(2 - 0)
W. Weghorst (17), A. Kramarić (20), I. Bebou (90)
E. Demirović (61)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Matarazzo acknowledges Europe is on the line against Augsburg

Speaking at his Saturday presser, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim trainer Pellegrino Matarazzo made clear he knew what was at stake in tomorrow's league showdown with European rivals FC Augsburg. 
The respective seasons of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and FC Augsburg have gone in quite the divergent directions since the two clubs split the points in a 1-1 draw on the current season's 11th match-day. At that point in time, Pellegrino Matarazzo's Sinsheimers were considered Europa League contenders whilst newly appointed FCA trainer Jess Thorup fought to help the Fuggerstädter avoid relegation. Matters have certainly changed a great deal.

At present - with seven rounds remaining - Hoffenheim seem out of the race for the second Europa League qualification place in the table. Augsburg still have an outside chance of catching sixth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt, but may not have to concern themselves with an UEL berth at all. Three points ahead of Hoffenheim for the UEFA Europa Conference League playoff spot, Thorup's team have a chance to bury one of their rivals for the slot.

Speaking at his Saturday presser, Matarazzo made clear that he knew any and all hopes for Europe his team could hope to retain all came down to tomorrow's home fixture. Matarazzo spoke of the need to "carry over the momentum and heart" displayed in last week's narrow loss against league leaders Leverkusen. The Kraichgauer must dig deep to produce a solid home performance in a year in which their home form has been poor.

"Augsburg have variations in their attack play that make them uncomfortable to defend against," Matarazzo said, "We must bring the maximum out in ourselves, and getting the maximum out of ourselves also means playing internationally next year."

Augsburg, Freiburg, and Hoffenheim are the only three teams who currently have realistic prospects of securing the UECL berth via seventh place in the table. There remains an outside chance that the privilege of playing in Europe's third-tier club tournament competition won't belong to any top tier side at all. If DFB-Pokal Finalists 1. FC Kaiserslautern manage to upset Leverkusen in the domestic cup Final, Lautern will claim the UECL playoff spot.

Such an occurrence would prove additionally strange for German football as the Pfälzer Red Devils are facing relegation to the 3. Liga. Friedhelm Funkel's FCK currently occupy the direct relegation place in the 2. Bundesliga table. A loss to Steffen Baumgart's HSV today rendered prospects bleaker for the two-time DFB-Pokal champions.

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