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Jan 16, 2021 at 2.30pm UK
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Preview: Hoffenheim vs. Arminia Bielefeld - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Hoffenheim will be aiming to end a three-game winless run in all competitions when they welcome Arminia Bielefeld to the Rhein-Neckar-Arena for Saturday's Bundesliga clash.

Only two points separate the sides in the table heading into gameweek 16, with the hosts in 14th, while Arminia sit 15th as things stand.

Match preview

Hoffenheim made the journey to a Schalke outfit who had not tasted victory in 30 games last Saturday, with that encounter representing a prime opportunity for Sebastian Hoeness's men to return to winning ways after home defeats to Greuther Furth and Freiburg.

However, Schalke produced an extraordinary performance to thrash Hoffenheim 4-0 and end their torrid winless run, with American protege Matthew Hoppe netting a hat-trick, while Amine Harit also got in on the act.

Such a dampening result to a troubled Schalke side will only increase the pressure on Hoeness's shoulders, with his team now losing five of their last six matches in all competitions after a relatively strong start to the campaign.

Hoffenheim would have been expected to challenge for the European places once again this season, but only four points separate Die Kraichgauer from the bottom three, and the 30 goals that they have already shipped this season is the third-highest in the league behind Schalke and Mainz.

In fairness, the hosts have had to make do with a severely depleted squad due to a plethora of injuries, and they will be more determined than ever to put an end to their rut and potentially rise above Werder Bremen and Hertha Berlin - should results go their way - up to 12th in the table.

In contrast, Arminia did their survival prospects the world of good with a 1-0 triumph over Hertha Berlin last weekend - the fourth game in a row that Uwe Neuhaus's men have won or lost by that scoreline.

Reinhold Yabo's first goal of the season propelled Arminia to their second win in three following another 1-0 at Schalke back in December, and that victory over Hertha lifted Neuhaus's men out of the bottom three at the expense of Koln - who were thrashed 5-0 by Freiburg.

The visitors failed to pick up a single point from their fixtures in October and November, but they have now managed to triumph three times in their last six matches, although their problems on the attacking front are still very much alive.

Despite the emergence of Ritsu Doan on the right-hand side of the attack, Arminia can only boast 10 goals from their first 15 matches - the fewest in the league - but they have also shipped the same amount of goals as Bayern Munich (24).

Recent history suggests that there will most certainly be a winner and a loser in this tie; Arminia have not shared the spoils in a match since September 19, and Hoffenheim cruised to back-to-back victories when the sides first met in the 2008-09 campaign.

Hoffenheim Bundesliga form: WLLWLL
Hoffenheim form (all competitions): LLWLLL

Arminia Bielefeld Bundesliga form: WLLWLW

Team News

Hoffenheim midfielder Christoph Baumgartner is suspended for this clash after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Schalke, and his spot could be filled by Florian Grillitsch if he is able to fight off an abdominal problem.

Ryan Sessegnon and Robert Skov have both been struggling with muscular problems but could make their returns here too, while the likes of Kevin Akpoguma, Pavel Kaderabek, Dennis Geiger and Sebastian Rudy all remain sidelined.

There is optimism over Havard Nordtveit's fitness for this clash too, but Hoffenheim's injury list could remain in double figures if the affected players are unable to recover in time.

Arminia have nowhere near as many injury concerns for this bout, but Manuel Prietl and Andreas Voglsammer are yet to return to full training from muscular problems and both look set to miss out here.

Marcel Hartel should therefore be partnered by Fabian Kunze in the midfield once more, and Neuhaus could very well put his faith in the same XI from their crucial win over Hertha.

Hoffenheim possible starting lineup:
Baumann; Brenet, Vogt, Posch, Sessegnon; Samassekou, Grillitsch; Bebou, Kramaric, Skov; Belfodil

Arminia Bielefeld possible starting lineup:
Ortega Moreno; Brunner, Pieper, Nilsson, Laursen; Doan, Hartel, Kunze, Yabo; Klos, Cordova

We say: Hoffenheim 2-1 Arminia Bielefeld

The Hoffenheim faithful would have been shell-shocked after witnessing their team be put to the sword by Schalke last time out, and Hoeness will be demanding an immediate response from his players here. The hosts should be boosted by the returns of some key players from injury, and even though Arminia have every right to feel confident about their chances of winning, we expect Hoffenheim to bounce back with a slender victory on their own turf.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:data

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