The TSG Hoffenheim players approached the microphones with broad grins last Saturday afternoon. No wonder as they secured a last-minute win in the big match against SC Freiburg. Central defender Chris Richards headed the winner in a 2-1 victory in the fourth minute of added time to secure the fourth win on the bounce. "We're training very hard, we feel good and are very happy about another three points," declared the 21-year-old after the final whistle. The team led by head coach Sebastian Hoeneß have performed incredibly well so far this term. Fourth place and 26 points make a clear statement after 15 matchdays. In the last ten games, TSG have clocked up seven wins (three defeats) and were the second most in-form Bundesliga side during that period behind league leaders Bayern Munich (eight wins, two defeats). "We feel like brothers and give our all for each other on the pitch," said Richards in explaining the formula for success at Hoffenheim recently and he added: "You can see that and it’s what we’re about."
Coach Hoeneß has injury problems ahead of the clash with the Werkself and he will have to manage without Ermin Bicakcic (rehab after torn cruciate), Jacob Bruun Larsen (training deficit), Marco John (flu) and Robert Skov (thigh injury). In contrast to the 2-1 win in Freiburg, Dennis Geiger may well return to the starting line-up. The 23-year-old midfielder has recently suffered with muscular problems but is an option again for Wednesday night. Alternatives in central midfield are Angelo Stiller and Sebastian Rudy. If defensive all-rounder Florian Grillitsch, who missed the Freiburg game due to a cold, comes back into the starting eleven, then Richards or Stefan Posch will have to make way. Striker Georginio Rutter is also a candidate for a start after only coming on as a substitute on the last matchday.
Bayer 04 against Hoffenheim – a battle between the quick starters and the late finishes. The Werkself have scored 11 goals in the opening 15 minutes; the top stat in the Bundesliga. TSG lead the ranking of the 18 clubs with goals in the final 15 minutes (nine). In addition, the team from the Kraichgau also have the fourth best attack in the league. Five of their 32 goals have been scored by Ihlas Bebou who is the club's top scorer in the Bundesliga. The forward missed the start of the season due to a Covid-19 infection but is now right back in the saddle. Sebastian Hoeneß is a fan of the Togo international and he describes him as a lad with a "super character" who works hard on the pitch and is therefore "enormously important" for the team. It's no wonder the 27-year-old has been a regular starter for TSG since matchday five. In Andrej Kramaric, Hoffenheim have the third best provider in the league (seven assists) in their ranks – only Thomas Müller (11, Bayern Munich) and Werkself youngster Florian Wirtz (eight) have set up more goals.
As much fun as TSG fans have in the attacking strength of their team, they very much yearn for defensive stability. The Hoeneß team have conceded 23 goals in 15 games. There is undoubtedly a need to find a better balance between the different parts of the team. A problem that Hoffenheim and Leverkusen share with each other: No other teams in the top half of the table have conceded more goals than the Werkself and TSG (24 and 23 respectively).
TSG are currently not only amongst the most in-form teams in the Bundesliga but also amongst the most consistent – after conceding there have almost always been results in the end and they have only suffered two defeats in succession once this season. The Hoeneß team are currently in outstanding shape and are definitely one of the teams capable of finishing in a European spot, in particular due to their offensive qualities. The impressive attacking duo of Kramaric and Bebou are supported by young players like David Raum and Georginio Rutter who have really emerged this season. If these Hoffenheim "brothers" continue to consistently pick up points then there are several possibilities for the players from the Kraichgau in this current Bundesliga season.
Monster Energy has been a partner in the Sponsors Club at Bayer 04 Leverkusen since the start of the 2023/24 season. Monster Energy has shown their products at Werkself home games on the LED advertising hoardings at the BayArena. Monster Energy activated the next stage of the partnership with the current Bundesliga league leaders for Bayer 04’s home game against Union Berlin in the middle of November. Monster Energy will continue to present themselves as a reliable and ambitious partner to Leverkusen fans through similar promotional events as at the game against Union Berlin.Show more
Bayer 04 involvement with the ‘Kältegang Leverkusen’ project continues this winter. The current Bundesliga league leaders and their fans again presented financial and in-kind donations to the homeless charity at home game against Borussia Dortmund (1-1).Show more
For the 17th time, Bayer 04 Sportförderung gGmbH has awarded the Volunteers Award for outstanding commitment to football in Leverkusen and the surrounding region. The three outstanding clubs in 2023 are BSV Roleber 1919, TuS 05 Oberpleis and SV 1924 Glehn. They will each receive prize money of €5,000.Show more
Bundesliga leaders Bayer 04 host Borussia Dortmund on Matchday 13 today, Sunday 3 December (17:30 CET), with a capacity crowd expected at the BayArena. Here’s all the latest information ahead of the clash with BVB.Show more
Two Bayer 04 players are on the shortlist for November 2023’s Goal of the Month on broadcaster ARD’s ‘Sportschau’. Fans have until midday CET on 20 December to vote for Alejandro Grimaldo’s opening goal in the Bundesliga game against Union Berlin or for Verena Wieder’s equaliser against RB Leipzig in the Google Pixel Women’s Bundesliga.Show more