Hoffenheim v Freiburg – Rhein-Neckar Arena at 14:30
Only Bayern Munich collected more points at home (44) than Hoffenheim (37) last season and Die Kraichgauer can get their Bundesliga campaign up and running with a comfortable success at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena against Freiburg on Saturday afternoon.
Julian Nagelsmann’s troops went down 3-1 at Bayern in the campaign curtain-raiser but TSG battled bravely despite fielding a depleted squad. The underdogs were second-best in a disappointing first half display but improved after the break and tallied five shots on-target – as many as Bayern – at the Allianz Arena.
The hosts have been handed a boost following the news that Croatian forward Andrej Kramaric returned to full training this week to bolster Hoffenheim’s offensive options here and with captain Kevin Vogt also expected to shrug off an injury that forced him off in Munich, TSG should be well-equipped.
The Sinsheim side may also look to bring in Switzerland international Steven Zuber to the starting XI following his impressive cameo off the bench and the return to the Rhein-Neckar-Arena should also lift spirits in the home camp with Die Kraichgauer boasting a tremendous record here under Nagelsmann.
Since the youthful boss was promoted to the top job, Hoffe have won 27/41 (66%) Bundesliga games here with 14 (34%) arriving via a margin of two goals or more. The hosts have kept 18 (44%) clean sheets and only twice failed to score themselves in those 41 outings.
With that in mind, I’m happy to invest faith in Hoffenheim to overcome a -0.75 Asian Handicap hurdle when Freiburg arrive on Saturday afternoon.
Freiburg unfancied on Saturday
Freiburg head coach Christian Streich looks likely to miss the weekend’s encounter having slipped a disc in his back. The visiting boss was absent from the SCF bench during their disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to Eintracht Frankfurt on the opening weekend.
Assistant boss Lars Voßler took temporary charge as the Breisgau-Brasilianer suffered a frustrating reverse. Freiburg won the shot count 21-9 and the shots on-target tally 7-2 but were undone by two poor goals – one of which invoked a fair amount of controversy in the country.
SCF now take to the road and if 2017/18 is anything to go by, the guests may struggle to find their range when playing away. The visitors picked up a solitary success – at beleaguered Koln – last term and have been beaten in 19/34 (56%) away days since winning promotion back to the top-flight.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Hoffenheim -0.75 at 1.770
Preview by: @MarkOHaire.
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