Created on 2021-10-23 at 05:51 AM
Bayern can play in a full-capacity Allianz Arena for the first time since March 2020 when they host TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Saturday afternoon – and the anticipation is huge for all concerned. “The fans and the atmosphere in the stands are what makes football such a unique experience,” said president Herbert Hainer, who’s hoping it gives the players “extra motivation” for the meeting with the Kraichgau club. Learn about the situation going into the game in our preview.
See the best images from Friday’s final training session before the match against Hoffenheim:
The situation for FC Bayern
Things could not have gone much better for Bayern since the international break. The Reds took an important step towards the Champions League round of 16 with a 4-0 win at Benfica on Wednesday evening, having extended their lead at the top of the Bundesliga courtesy of a 5-1 triumph in last Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash away to Bayer Leverkusen.
They’ll now be hoping to maintain it against TSG, even though coach Julian Nagelsmann will be absent from the touchline – as he was in midweek – after testing positive for coronavirus. The 34-year-old has set up “a mini analysis centre” at home, as he put it, from where he’ll follow the match while keeping in close contact with his assistants Xaver Zembrod and Dino Toppmöller. The latter will take his place on Saturday and now has the chance to “enjoy a bit of the limelight, do a very good job and hopefully continue coaching well from the touchline so that we can get the next win,” described Nagelsmann.
President Herbert Hainer spoke in an interview about his excitement for the first match in front of a full house for over a year and a half:
The opponents: Hoffenheim
After a fast start to the campaign, which saw them occupy second spot after the first two matchdays, ninth-placed Hoffenheim have settled in midtable. However, their 5-0 thrashing of Köln last Friday was a clear lift back in the right direction – and gave them plenty of confidence for the trip to the Allianz Arena. “When you begin the week before a Bayern match with a result like that behind you, it does wonders,” Chris Richards, currently on loan at Hoffenheim from Bayern, told the club’s website. “You’re always the underdog against Munich but the confidence is good for us.”
That confidence has spread to the TSG coach, too. “We’re going to Munich to trouble Bayern. We’re all really up for it and that’s our clear objective,” said a bullish Sebastian Hoeneß.
Watch Julian Nagelsmann’s pre-match virtual press conference in full:
The team news for Bayern vs. Hoffenheim
Bayern must again do without Alphonso Davies and Leon Goretzka against TSG, with the pair “not yet 100 per cent fit”, according to Nagelsmann. They should be available for next Wednesday’s DFB Cup match at Borussia Mönchengladbach, though. In addition, Sven Ulreich continues his recovery in training following his knee injury. Benjamin Pavard is available again after serving a suspension.
Hoeneß is without the injured Ermin Bičakčić (rehab after cruciate ligament tear), Marco John (shoulder) and Pavel Kadeřábek (ankle) for the trip to Munich, while Benjamin Hübner (back) is “not yet an option for the squad”. As well as that, Christoph Baumgartner is isolating after being infected with coronavirus.
More on the latest injury update:
What the coaches say
Julian Nagelsmann: “Hoffenheim play an unbelievable number of different formations. We’ve worked out an idea and will be prepared for all eventualities, without having to adjust our own tactics too much. In any case, Hoffenheim will certainly play with bravery and try to win. Their performances have been a bit up and down this year, so you can’t always predict how they’ll play on the day. But fundamentally, they’re a very good team, who I still know very well and who will test us.”
Sebastian Hoeneß (1899 Hoffenheim coach): “We’ve seen that opponents do get opportunities against FC Bayern. We want to be efficient and take those opportunities. We know we’ll have to withstand spells of Munich pressure, so we’ll have to be wide awake and need courage and conviction. That’s what we want to show on Saturday.”
Here are the facts and figures on the fixture against Hoffenheim: