• Analysis

Match Preview: Hoffenheim vs Schalke 04

TSG Hoffenheim
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Hoffenheim and Schalke 04 will close the eighth Bundesliga round, as they meet each other tonight at 18:00 (CET).

Schalke 04 will have the chance to take the lead in top-flight German football with a win over Hoffenheim at the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar Arena this evening.

The Royal Blues are currently sitting in sixth, but only two points behind top side Borussia Monchengladbach, who suffered a 1-0 defeat in Dortmund last night.

In their last Bundesliga outing (vs Koln), David Wanger’s side dropped points for the first time in more than a month, as Jonas Hector’s injury-time equalizer denied Schalke a fifth consecutive league win right before the international break.

Hoffenheim surely enjoyed their two-week break, as they managed to beat Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena in the previous round. Another victory over a strong opponent this evening could finally see Die Kraichgauer get going, after a tough start of the 2019-20 campaign.

Team news

Alfred Schreuder is still dealing with a deep injury crisis at Hoffenheim with all of Belfodil (knee), Nordtveit (rib), Ochs (ankle), Samassekou (hamstring) and Zuber (foot) being ruled out of the game.

Croatian striker Andrej Kramaric, who has scored a goal in each of his last three Bundesliga outings against Schalke is fit again, but he might only start on the bench due to lack of match fitness.

Algeria international Nabil Bentaleb is Schalke’s only absentee for the trip to Sinsheim this weekend.

Keep an eye on 22-year-old Amine Harit, who won the Bundesliga Player of the Month award for September, with four goals and two assists by his name in his last four league appearances.

Stats

Hoffenheim have scored in each of their last seven matches against Schalke and have, in fact, never lost after scoring first (W7, D2).

Both sides managed to find the net in six of the past seven meetings between Hoffenheim and Schalke. Their most recent encounter at the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar Arena finished in a 1-1 draw, back in December.

Amine Harit (four) and new Germany international Suat Serdar (three) have together scored half of Schalke’s 14 goals this season. That total of seven is more than the whole Hoffenheim team combined (six).

The Royal Blues are unbeaten in seven away league games spanning this season and last. Only twice before have they managed longer such runs on the road.

However, Schalke have won just one of their 11 Bundesliga visits to Sinsheim, winning 4-1 on the final day of 2015/16. Current Royal Blue striker Mark Uth scored the goal for Hoffenheim back then.

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