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Apr 24, 2021 at 2.30pm UK
FreiburgFreiburg
1-1
HoffenheimHoffenheim
Grifo (81' pen.)
Schlotterbeck (50')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Kramaric (40')
Bebou (48'), Samassekou (59')

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

:Headline: Preview: Freiburg vs. Hoffenheim - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Bundesliga clash between Freiburg and Hoffenheim, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Freiburg take on Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Saturday, with the hosts looking to remain ahead of Stuttgart in the top half of the table and move closer to a European qualification spot.

Hoffenheim, meanwhile, all but secured their safety by ending a winless run of five matches with a thrilling 3-2 win over Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday.


Match preview

Freiburg head into this match as the only side playing at the weekend to have received a rest in midweek, after their scheduled match against Hertha Berlin was postponed due to a recent COVID-19 outbreak at the capital-based club.

Despite not playing, though, Christian Streich's side still remained in the top half of the table after Stuttgart lost 3-1 at home to Wolfsburg.

Indeed, they are one point ahead of Stuttgart and four points ahead of Hoffenheim having played one match fewer than both, so Saturday's test against Sebastian Hoeness's side represents an excellent opportunity to take a huge step closer to securing a top-half position, with a place in Europe next season not entirely out of the equation yet either.

Freiburg recorded a fantastic 4-0 win over relegated Schalke 04 last time out, with Lucas Holer converting from close range after only seven minutes following a fine run and cross down the right by Baptiste Santamaria.

Roland Sallai doubled his side's lead from the penalty spot after Klaas-Jan Huntelaar had perhaps harshly been adjudged to have fouled the Freiburg forward inside the penalty area after the two opponents competed for a high ball in the air.

Christian Gunter demonstrated his superb quality - and yet another example as to why Joachim Low may have been misguided in failing to provide the left-back with another opportunity for the German national team since his only cap in 2014 - with two superb strikes from distance, firing past Ralf Fahrmann into the Schalke goalkeeper's left corner on both occasions.

Streich will be hoping for a similar performance against Hoffenheim on Saturday, but they are unlikely to find Hoeness's defence quite as accommodating, with plenty more for them to worry about at the other end, too.

Indeed, after two goalless draws against RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen, Hoeness was forced to release the handbrake after falling to a two-goal deficit at home to Gladbach on Wednesday.

In an entertaining, open affair from the outset, Alassane Plea's effort deflected off Stefan Posch and past Oliver Baumann to break the deadlock after 25 minutes.

Robert Skov, Christoph Baumgartner and Ihlas Bebou all came close to equalising for the hosts, but Gladbach were ruthless, making it two goals from two shots on target after Valentino Lazaro converted Marcus Thuram's second assist of the game on the stroke of half time.

However, Andrej Kramaric prodded home his 15th league goal of the season after Thuram had failed to clear his lines from a corner, before Pavel Kaderabek provided two pinpoint crosses for Bebou and Kramaric to flip the match completely on its head in the space of only 17 second-half minutes.

Marco Rose quickly made three changes, but Die Fohlen could not lift themselves off the canvas, with defeat representing a huge dent to their aspirations of finishing inside the top six.

Hoffenheim, meanwhile, can breathe a huge sigh of relief having moved nine points clear of the relegation zone, with a turbulent season marked by numerous injuries and a disappointing Europa League exit to Molde edging closer to a quieter conclusion.

Should Hoeness hope to somewhat recover the campaign by guiding Hoffenheim to their seventh top-half finish in the Bundesliga in eight seasons, his side will almost certainly need to beat Freiburg on Saturday.

Freiburg Bundesliga form:
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W

Hoffenheim Bundesliga form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • W



Team News

Freiburg will be without the suspended Santamaria after the midfielder picked up his fifth booking of the season against Schalke.

Yannik Keitel is likely to come into the side in his place alongside Nicolas Hofler at the heart of midfield, but with no known injuries Streich will be tempted to go with the same XI which comfortably dispatched Schalke last time out.

That would mean a place on the bench once again for Vincenzo Grifo, who is fit again having recovered from COVID-19 and will be hoping to gain some match fitness at some stage of proceedings should he not start.

Hoffenheim, meanwhile, continue to have an extremely busy treatment room, with Dennis Geiger, Ermin Bicakcic and Benjamin Hubner all ruled out for the rest of the season.

Baumgartner was substituted late on against Gladbach due to a suspected muscle injury and may face a couple of weeks out, with Hoeness having the option of bringing Havard Nordtveit into the side and reverting to a back three, or retaining a back four with Sargis Adamyan, Munas Dabbur and Ishak Belfodil competing to replace Baumgartner alongside Kramaric, Bebou and Skov in attack.

Marco John, Mijat Gacinovic, Sebastian Rudy, Kevin Akpoguma, Kevin Vogt and Kostas Stafylidis all remain strong doubts, but could return to first-team action in time for Hoffenheim's next match against Schalke in two weeks' time.

Freiburg possible starting lineup:
Muller; Lienhart, Schlotterbeck, Heintz; Schmid, Keitel, Hofler, Gunter; Sallai, Demirovic, Holer

Hoffenheim possible starting lineup:
Baumann; Kaderabek, Posch, Richards, Sessegnon; Samassekou, Grillitsch; Skov, Dabbur, Kramaric; Bebou

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We say: Freiburg 1-2 Hoffenheim

With both sides under minimal pressure, we can envisage an entertaining match between two sides who generally prefer to be on the front foot.

Hoffenheim's injury crisis has forced Hoeness into utilising more attackers, with Kramaric and Bebou a fearsome partnership.

No result would be a surprise here, but we can see Hoffenheim moving a point behind their opponents by claiming successive victories for the first time since January.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data



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4Borussia DortmundDortmund321841069442558
5Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt321512563481557
6Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen32149951351651
7Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach321210105952746
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17FC Koln3278173360-2729
RSchalke 04Schalke3227232182-6113
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