TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - 1. FC Köln Preview: Nagelsmann's men on form

Can Hoffenheim heap further misery on their visitors, or will the Westfalen outfit climb further away from the drop zone?

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - 1. FC Köln Preview: Nagelsmann's men on form
Image credit: VAVEL (Jonny Walsh)

In the final game of matchday 28, the Bundesliga will come to a close for the week as TSG 1899 Hoffenheim play host to the Billy Goats from Köln.

Nagelsmann working his magic, but safety is far from secured

Not everything has worked well with Julian Nagelsmann, but a lot of things have. Since the 28-year-old took charge of Hoffenheim's first team, the Kraichgauer have won three out of six games; drawing one against Werder Bremen (1-1) and losing twice against Borussia Dortmund (1-3) and VfB Stuttgart (1-5).

But there is still a long way to go for the club. Standing on 16th place with 27 points, they are only one point away from Darmstadt 98, who are 13th, but Eintracht Frankfurt, who are in 17th place, have the same amount of points. Therefore, every game and point will be important for Nagelsmann's boys.

A more relaxing situation

The situation of Peter Stöger and his team is much more relaxed. Even though the last six games were not really enjoyable for the Effzeh supporters, with only one win against Hannover 96 (2-0), they are with six points away from the relegation places in a safer spot in the table.

The last game against record Bundesliga champions FC Bayern München (0-1) was better than the result might indicate. Without a chance in the first half, the Billy Goats were the better team after half-time with a significant amount of opportunities to find an equaliser in the game. Unfortunately, Manuel Neuer, the woodwork and sometimes the inability to finish off an opportunity when it came were the reasons why they finished the game without a point in their favour.

The Billy Goats will need to battle if they are to claim three points. | Source: kicker
The Billy Goats will need to battle if they are to claim three points. | Source: kicker

Injury report

Nagelsmann will have to will be without the trio of Tarik Elyounoussi, Kai Herdling and Pirmin Schwegler. The Swiss midfielder's absence has been a major blow for the Sinsheim side this season. As for Stöger, he is just missing Serbian Milos Jojic. Other than that, the visitors come into the game with a full-strength squad.

The referee

Deniz Aytekin from Oberasbach will be the match official. He will be assisted by Christian Dietz from Kronach and Thorben Siewer from Drolshagen as his linesmen and Christian Bandurski will take up the role of fourth official.

Predicted line-ups

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim: (4-2-3-1) Baumann - Kaderabek, Bicakcic, Süle, Ochs - Strobl - Rudy, Nad. Amiri - Volland, Uth - Kramaric.

1. FC Köln: (4-2-3-1) Horn - Sörensen, Maroh, Heintz, Hector - M. Lehmann, Gerhardt - Risse, Bittencourt, Zoller - Modeste.