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Hoffenheim logo
Bundesliga | Gameweek 26
Mar 16, 2024 at 5.30pm UK
PreZero Arena

0 - 3

Kaderabek (45+3')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Millot (16'), Guirassy (45+1'), Leweling (68')

Preview: Hoffenheim vs. Stuttgart - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between Hoffenheim and Stuttgart, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Champions League hopefuls Stuttgart travel to Rhein-Neckar Arena to take on Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Saturday afternoon.

Pellegrino Matarazzo will renew acquaintances with his former club Stuttgart, who suffered a 3-2 home defeat to Die Kraichgauer in the reverse fixture almost five months ago.

Match preview

Hoffenheim coach Pellegrino Matarazzo before the match on November 4, 2023© Reuters

Following back-to-back wins over Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen, Hoffenheim's hopes of securing a top-six finish suffered a major blow last weekend as they blew a one-goal lead and had two men sent off in a 3-1 defeat away against Eintracht Frankfurt.

John Brooks went from hero to villain in the first 22 minutes as he scored the opener not long before being sent off for a late challenge, before Robin Koch equalised in a frantic first 32 minutes. Frankfurt then scored twice after the break to take control of proceedings, before salt was rubbed into Hoffenheim's wounds when Ozan Kabak was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.

Matarazzo's men, who have now lost 10 Bundesliga games this season, remain seventh in the table but have slipped seven points behind Frankfurt in sixth, who occupy the final Europa Conference League qualification spot.

However, finishing seventh could be enough for Hoffenheim to qualify for the Conference League if Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen, who have already secured at least a top-six finish, win the DFB-Pokal.

Hoffenheim enter Saturday's contest with Stuttgart having not lost any of their last four meetings with Die Roten, but they will likely need to outscore their opponents if they wish to come out on top on this time around, considering that they have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 20 Bundesliga matches – the longest streak in the top flight.

VfB Stuttgart coach Sebastian Hoeness before the match on February 6, 2024© Reuters

After narrowly avoiding relegation from the Bundesliga last season, Stuttgart are on course to secure their first top-three finish since 2008-09 having picked more points (53) after their first 25 games than in any other season; only once in Bundesliga history has a team with at least 53 points at this stage failed to finish in the top three (Koln back in 1969-70).

Since losing 1-0 at VfL Bochum at the end of January, Die Roten have accumulated 19 points of out a possible 21 available – their longest unbeaten run in the Bundesliga since August 2020 under current Hoffenheim boss Matarazzo – and have scored at least twice in six victories during this run, including a 2-0 home success over Union Berlin last weekend.

Star striker Serhou Guirassy opened the scoring with his 21st Bundesliga goal in his 19th appearance of the season, before Chris Fuhrich sealed the victory with his eighth strike of the campaign midway through the second half.

Sebastian Hoeness's side remain third in the top-flight standings and sit six points clear of fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund, seven clear of RB Leipzig in fifth and 13 clear of Frankfurt in sixth, so European qualification is certainly on the cards this season.

Stuttgart will be keen to enter the international break on a high, but success is not a given on Saturday as they have failed to win any of their last eight visits to Hoffenheim, conceding 20 goals in the process.

Hoffenheim Bundesliga form:

Stuttgart Bundesliga form:

Stuttgart form (all competitions):

Team News

Hoffenheim's Wout Weghorst celebrates scoring their second goal with John Brooks on October 28, 2023© Reuters

Hoffenheim trio Mergim Berisha, Grischa Promel (both knee) and Dennis Geiger (muscle) all remain sidelined with injuries, while Robert Skov (thigh), Anton Stach (muscle) and Umut Tohumcu (ankle) are all doubtful.

Both Brooks and Kabak are suspended following their dismissals last weekend, so Kevin Akpoguma and Stanley Nsoki are set to move from wing-back into a three-man central defence next to Florian Grillitsch.

Marius Bulter and Pavel Kaderabek could deputise in wide areas, while in-form striker Maximilian Beier – who has scored four goals in his last three games – is set to be joined in attack by Andrej Kramaric and Ihlas Bebou.

As for Stuttgart, Anthony Rouault is ruled out for four to six weeks after undergoing surgery to fix a broken jaw sustained in last weekend's win over Union Berlin.

Nikolas Nartey, Dan-Axel Zagadou (both knee) and Samuele di Benedetto (broken leg) all remain in the treatment room, while Genki Haraguchi (illness) will be assessed ahead of kickoff.

Waldemar Anton is the most likely candidate to replace Rouault in central defence, while Mahmoud Dahoud, Deniz Undav – both on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion – and Jeong Woo-yeong will all be pushing for a recall after beginning as substitutes last time out.

Hoffenheim possible starting lineup:
Baumann; Akpoguma, Grillitsch, Nsoki; Kaderabek, Becker, Bischof, Bulter; Kramaric; Bebou, Beier

Stuttgart possible starting lineup:
Nubel; Vagnoman, Anton, Ito, Mittelstadt; Millot, Karazor, Stiller, Fuhrich; Undav, Guirassy

SM words green background

We say: Hoffenheim 2-2 Stuttgart

Seven of the last eight meetings between Hoffenheim and Stuttgart have seen both teams score and another entertaining end-to-end contest could be on the cards this weekend.

The momentum is certainly with Stuttgart at present, but Hoffenheim have already beaten Die Rotten this season and may do enough to claim at least a share of the spoils this time around.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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