The game at the PreZero Arena in Sinsheim is the opening fixture on matchday 27 and also marks the start of the run-in in the title race. Given that the Werkself are only four points ahead of Hoffenheim, this game should provide an insight how the season will turn out. Read on for 04 facts on #TSGB04...
To kick off, the previous 21 meetings in the league have never produced a goalless draw in this fixture. On the contrary. Only once have the Werkself failed to find the back of the Hoffenheim net to date – that was in a 1-0 defeat in December 2014. Bayer 04 have clocked up an impressive 44 goals against TSG. That is an average of around two per game and gives us hope of black and red joy in tonight's game. A cautionary note: The team coached by Julian Nagelsmann also like to play powerful attacking football and they go into the matchday with the fourth strongest attack in the league (50 goals) – TSG scored four goals at the BayArena earlier on in the season. So there is a score to settle with the team from the Kraichgau. Indeed, also because of the recent record: The Werkself have only won one of the past six meetings – that was a 4-1 victory in Sinsheim last term. The other games produced three defeats and two draws. Victory would certainly not go amiss...
Talking about draws. The Nagelsmann team are the draw kings in the Bundesliga. The 1-1 draw at VfB Stuttgart two weeks ago was the eleventh time TSG have had to settle for one point this season – more often than any other team in Germany's top flight. Ten of the eleven draws have come in the last 15 matches. However, it appears unlikely that draw number 12 will be the outcome of the game against the Werkself: On the one hand, only three of the previous 21 league meetings have ended with the same number of goals for both sides and, on the other, the Werkself have only recorded three draws this term – as infrequently as Bayern Munich. And talking about Bayern: Hoffenheim have only lost in the league more often against the record champions (15 times) and conceded more goals (50) than against the Werkself (14 defeats, 44 goals conceded).
The Champions League participants from Sinsheim have not really got going this season. Since the previous international break in November, TSG have only clocked up three wins – as little as the relegation candidates from Stuttgart, Gelsenkirchen and Augsburg. That is also due to the team from North Baden finding it difficult to hold onto leads. That happened recently at Stuttgart and at Eintracht Frankfurt when Hoffenheim conceded two goals later on to suffer a 3-2 defeat. TSG have taken the lead in 19 of the 26 Bundesliga games so far – only nine ended in victory (plus nine draws and one defeat). The team from the Kraichgau have gone ahead in the last four league games but only picked up five out of a possible twelve points. Perhaps the Werkself can benefit from that. Bayer have won 04 of the last five league fixtures on the road – the Bosz Boys left Dortmund empty-handed despite scoring twice. Moreover: The Werkself have scored at least two goals in every away game this year. Three goals were scored against Wolfsburg and Hannover 96 and five against Mainz. In 2019 the Werkself are top in the number of away goals scored in the Bundesliga (13).
The game has not yet started but Julian Nagelsmann has already struck first. With his voice. "For me, Peter Bosz is an incredible coach with an incredibly exciting approach. It's incredibly attractive and great to watch. He's a coach who stands for a very, very clear style that is always recognisable – I think that's outstanding," said the Hoffenheim coach outing himself as a fan of the Werkself head coach. Words that receive a good reception at Leverkusen. At yesterday's pre-match press conference, Peter Bosz refused to be overwhelmed by the gushing praise from Nagelsmann: "Praise doesn't bring you any points" - in line with the famous Adi Preißler quote, "what happens on the pitch is crucial." That's the way it should be. The Werkself are looking to pick up praise AND points at the PreZero Arena tonight. So come on you Black and Reds!
Previous meeting : 1-4 (H)
Venue: PreZero Arena (30,150 capacity)
Referee: Harm Osmers (Hannover)
Weather forecast: 13 degrees, bright
Live broadcaster: Europsport
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