Put Hoffenheim out of their misery
What is worse than playing Hoffenheim away on the last match day of a year? Playing Hoffenheim away after losing at home to Wolfsburg due to some bad refereeing the week before.
What a wonderful year 2012 has been. We won the league, we won the cup and in this season’s Champions League have shown that we are up there with Europe’s best teams. So why do we HAVE to play Hoffenheim in Sinsheim?
Let’s start with the good news. “Why not Europe?” asked Hoffenheim boss Markus Babbel ahead of the 2012/2013 season. “Why not Bundesliga 2” is the answer after 16 Bundesliga games. Hoffenheim have picked up 12 points, have conceded 38 goals, have fired Markus Babbel, hired general manager Andreas Muller, were on the wrong end of the heaviest cup defeat for a Bundesliga club against a minor league team and completely lost the plot.
Not that they would mind. “I bet on a 2-1 for us,” said 21-year old Hoffenheim midfielder Denis Streker, out of Hoffenheim’s famous youth scheme. The defensive midfielder arrived in Hoffenheim on a free transfer from Eintracht Frankfurt’s reserve team ahead of this season. The Kraichgau Pirates currently trail Dusseldorf by six points and have a four point lead on the direct relegation places held by Augsburg and Furth, who meet in Furth on Saturday. In the best case scenario Hoffenheim could trail the 15th place team by nine points.
“Sometimes form can beat quality,” Hoffenheim manager Muller was quoted. The former Schalke man added: “On a good day we can beat Dortmund, why not?” Yeah, why not? Caretaker boss Frank Kramer confirmed: “Of course, we want to win it. Until the very last second my players have to give it all, that’s what I expect of them,” he told a local paper. Kramer took over from Babbel ahead of the Hamburg game last week, and, as always, the Hoffenheim hopeless gave it all to secure a 0-2 defeat against Hamburg.
The club has lost their last five games, three of them at home and have not won a league match since match day 10, when they started the misery for Schalke boss Huub Stevens, beating Schalke 3-2. Good on them.
The Klopp boys will want to secure three points, to make it 77 Bundesliga points in 2012 and stay on course for a Champions League spot next year. It has not been the best half season in Bundesliga and last week’s shock defeat to Wolfsburg and Stark was certainly not planned. While still sitting on top of the chasers pack, we only hold a two point lead over Stuttgart on seven and a six point lead on Bremen on 12.
During the first half of the season and mostly down to beyond par performances at home we were not able to establish a comfortable lead over the Europa League ranks. Injury miser yin defensive midfield could be seen as one of the main reasons. Moritz Leitner, 20, started in four games this season. We lost three of them and drew one. Sebastian Kehl and Sven Bender continued injury problems have most certainly done us no good. But both defensive midfielders will not be available on Sunday and we can only hope that Leitner will finally break his curse, and pick up three points as a starter.
All other players are available and it is likely Klopp will not make any changes to his team, with the only likely change being the return of Serbian international Neven Subotic. But whoever will start for Borussia it is time to pick up points and make up for the Sonic Weapon incident in Sinsheim last year. During last year’s defeat against Hoffenheim, Borussia supporters were able to enjoy some weird noise to drown out their chants praising Hoffenheim patron’s mother as a kind-hearted woman. The incident which reportedly left a few Dortmund supporters with severe ear damage was later played down by Hoffenheim and the German FA.
The German FA , who this week dominated the headlines, when the highly controversial Safe Stadium Experience paper was passed by a general meeting of all German Bundesliga I and Bundesliga II clubs. Supporter groups have called for the 12:12 protests to be continued, which will not make a difference for the home fans on Sunday. All the while, BVB fans will just want to see the Blacknyellows push Hoffenheim closer to the edge, so we can put Hoffenheim out of their misery on the last match day of the 2012/2013. Tradition always beats commerce! On a good day and on a bad day.
Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - Gündogan, Leitner - Blaszczykowski, M. Götze, Reus - Lewandowski
Bench: Langerak, Felipe Santana, Günter, Kirch, Amini, Perisic, Schieber, Großkreutz
Hoffenheim: Casteels - Beck, Delpierre, Compper, Johnson - Williams, Rudy, Salihovic - Roberto Firmino, Derdiyok, Volland
Bench: Grahl, Conrad, Jensen, Ochs, Schröck, Grifo, Sassi, Streker, Usami, Weis, Wieser, Gregoritsch, Joselu, Schipplock
Refs: Florian Meyer, Frank Willenborg, Christoph Bornhorst, Norbert Grudzinski
Kick Off: Sunday, December 16th - 3.30pm CET