Preview: Hoffenheim vs. Stuttgart 

Preview: Hoffenheim vs. Stuttgart 

Two Bundesliga sides involved in two very different battles this season go head to head on Friday evening as Hoffenheim welcome Stuttgart to the PreZero Arena.

The hosts are sat in fifth spot, one of three teams level on points in a fight for the final Champions League place, whilst the visitors are fighting for their lives in the top tier.

Hoffenheim won their first game of 2022 but would have to wait until mid-February for their second, going on a run of four consecutive defeats – three in the league and one in the DFB-Pokal.

Their 2-0 win at home to Arminia Bielefeld has perhaps seen them turn a corner, however, as they were able to back it up with a second win last weekend.

A trip to face a resurgent Wolfsburg side was always going to be a test and Die Kraichgauer fell behind to a Jonas Wind goal after 36 minutes.

They fought back, though, and two goals in five second-half minutes from Jacob Bruun Larsen and Andrej Kramaric saw them secure a 2-1 win that keeps them sandwiched between RB Leipzig and Freiburg.

All three won last weekend; all three are currently sat on 37 points in a tie for fourth place and the final Champions League spot; all three will be determined not to slip up again this weekend.

At the other end of the table, Stuttgart can only dream of a return to the top table of European football for the first time since a 5-1 aggregate loss to Barcelona at the round-of-16 stage in 2010.

Since then, Die Roten have been relegated twice – in 2016 and 2019, before returning immediately the following season – and they are now in serious danger of making that thrice in just six years.

They were able to end a run of four consecutive Bundesliga defeats – and six from seven games – last time out as they drew 1-1 at home to Bochum.

However, the manner of the draw will have been painful nonetheless. After an Armel Bella-Kotchap own goal gave Pellegrino Matarazzo’s side the lead shortly before the hour mark, they defended valiantly only to concede the equaliser after giving away a penalty in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

The loss extends their winless run to eight games and they will likely find it much harder to pick up three points this weekend than they did the last.

Hoffenheim Bundesliga form:
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Hoffenheim form (all competitions):
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Stuttgart Bundesliga form:
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Stuttgart form (all competitions):
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We say: Hoffenheim 2-1 Stuttgart
The return of Kalajdzic could be a huge boost for the visitors and could see them get on the scoresheet, but we still expect Hoffenheim to have too much for them and condemn them to yet another defeat, albeit a narrow one.

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