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Apr 16, 2021 at 7.30pm UK
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Preview: RB Leipzig vs. Hoffenheim - prediction, team news, lineups

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

RB Leipzig take on Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Friday, with the hosts able to move within two points of league leaders Bayern Munich with a victory.

Hoffenheim, meanwhile, are only five points above the relegation zone, so cannot allow a disappointing season to spiral out of control.

Match preview

Julian Nagelsmann conceded the Bundesliga title after their 1-0 loss to Bayern opened up a seven point gap at the top of the table for the Bavarians, but the 33-year-old's concession may well have been a little premature after the subsequent events of last weekend.

Bayern, who have had several injuries to key players and the distraction of a Champions League quarter-final tie against Paris Saint-Germain to contend with, surprisingly dropped two points at home to Union Berlin, allowing Leipzig to close the gap to five points after a superb 4-1 win at Werder Bremen.

Marcel Sabitzer, Kevin Kampl and Dani Olmo combined brilliantly to break the deadlock, with the Spaniard coolly slotting away his fourth league goal of the season, before Alexander Sorloth's quickfire double all but wrapped up a comfortable victory before half-time.

Bremen pulled a goal back moments after the hour mark via Milot Rashica's penalty after Kampl had been adjudged to handle the ball, but Sabitzer put any minor doubts to bed with a fine finish two minutes later.

The manner of the victory bodes well for Leipzig in terms of the DFB-Pokal semi-final meeting between the two sides at the end of April, with both Nagelsmann and Leipzig looking to win their first ever major trophies. It also just about kept the title race alive heading into Friday night's clash against Hoffenheim, with a win seriously ramping up the pressure on league leaders Bayern, who could be somewhat fatigued after their gruelling exit to PSG in midweek ahead of a testing trip to Wolfsburg on Saturday.

Hoffenheim, meanwhile, had to wait until Monday night to face Bayer Leverkusen, with the added pressure of Mainz 05, Hertha Berlin and Arminia Bielefeld all having avoided defeat to leave the gap to the bottom three at just four points.

Relegation would have been unthinkable at the start of the season for a club which finished sixth last season and has qualified for the Champions League on two occasions in recent seasons, and in truth it still remains an unlikely prospect, especially after moving a little further away from the relegation zone following a bore 0-0 draw against Leverkusen.

Understandably so after three successive defeats, Sebastian Hoeness clearly set his side up in a more pragmatic style than usual, with Stefan Posch slotting into the heart of the defence and Florian Grillitsch moving back into his preferred midfield position. Hoffenheim desperately struggled for offensive fluidity, though, failing to have a shot on target across the entire 90 minutes.

Leverkusen, who have also adopted a more defensive style under their new interim manager Hannes Wolf, did not offer much more threat, althoug Charles Aranguiz and Nadiem Amiri were both denied by Oliver Baumann either side of half-time.

Ultimately, after a testing season filled with injuries, illness and inconsistency and a disappointing exit to Norwegian outfit Molde in the Europa League knockout stages, the rest of the season is solely about survival for Hoffenheim, but they may find avoiding defeat a much tougher entity at Leipzig on Friday.

RB Leipzig Bundesliga form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W

RB Leipzig form (all competitions):
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W

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

Team News

Leipzig are likely to be without Tyler Adams until early May after the midfielder suffered a back problem during the win against Bremen. Benjamin Henrichs replaced the American at half-time and could come into the first XI against Hoffenheim, with Nordi Mukiele providing an alternative option.

Konrad Laimer, Dominik Szoboszlai and Yussuf Poulsen all remain sidelined through injury, so Sorloth is likely to continue in attack after his two-goal showing against Bremen last time out.

Dayot Upamecano and Angelino are seemingly available once again having recovered from their muscle injuries, with Nagelsmann likely to provide both with some game time ahead of Tuesday's trip to face FC Koln.

Hoffenheim, meanwhile, continue to have a lengthy list of absentees, with Dennis Geiger, Ermin Bicakcic and Benjamin Hubner ruled out for the rest of the campaign.

Kevin Akpoguma, Kevin Vogt, Mijat Gacinovic, Sargis Adamyan and Kostas Stafylidis are unlikely to recover in time for the trip to Leipzig.

Sebastian Rudy suffered a knock during the draw with Leverkusen, too, with Andrej Kramaric replacing him after 38 minutes. The Croatian's return should see an upturn in Hoffenheim's attacking performance at the very least, with Robert Skov potentially dropping out of the XI to allow Diadie Samassekou to slot into the midfield.

RB Leipzig possible starting lineup:
Gulasci; Orban, Upamecano, Klostermann; Henrichs, Sabitzer, Kampl, Angelino; Nkunku, Forsberg; Sorloth

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

We say: RB Leipzig 2-1 Hoffenheim

Kramaric's return should provide Hoffenheim with enough attacking impetus to penetrate Leipzig's backline, but it is unlikely to be enough for them to gain a positive result.

The prospect of moving within two points of Bayern will ensure that Leipzig are highly motivated, with their offensive fluidity potentially offering too much for Hoffenheim's leaky defence to handle.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home 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 Win:data

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Bundesliga Table
1Bayern MunichBayern31225486404671
2RB Leipzig31197555253064
4Eintracht FrankfurtFrankfurt311511562471556
5Borussia DortmundDortmund311741066422455
6Bayer LeverkusenB. Leverkusen31148951351650
7Borussia MonchengladbachBorussia M'bach311210959461346
8Union BerlinUnion Berlin31111374738946
12Mainz 053198143450-1635
14Hertha Berlin3079143849-1130
15Werder Bremen3179153451-1730
16Arminia Bielefeld3186172351-2830
17FC Koln3178163256-2429
RSchalke 04Schalke3027211876-5813
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Eredivisie Table
2PSV EindhovenPSV31198467323565
3AZ AlkmaarAZ31197569412864
6FC UtrechtUtrecht311311751401150
9Sparta RotterdamSparta31117134447-340
10Fortuna SittardSittard31124154652-640
12FC Twente31910124345-237
13PEC Zwolle31811124148-735
14RKC WaalwijkRKC Waalwijk3168172848-2026
15Willem II3167183464-3025
18ADO Den HaagADO Den Haag31310182569-4419
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