Hoffenheim vs Standard Liege
Date: Saturday, 8th July 2017
Kick off at 14:00 UK/ 15:00 CET
Venue: Stadtisches Stadion.
In around the space of a season-and-a-half, coach Julian Nagelsmann has turned Hoffenheim from a side scrapping in the bottom half of the Bundesliga into Champions League qualifiers – last season’s 4th place finish was the best in Hoffenheim’s history. Nagelsmann’s preparations have, therefore, started early ahead of his sides’ upcoming Champions League playoff matches, so expect to see most of their big name players getting some time on the pitch. Though Hoffenheim have said goodbye to midfielders Nicklas Sule (an impressive season €17 million move to Bayern Munich) and Sebastian Rudy (also off to Bayern), they’ve balanced these transfers out with a few decent incomings – West Ham’s defensive midfielder Havard Nortdveit and Werder Bremen’s Florian Grillitsch are two fitting replacements.
Facing them is Standard Liege, who had a less than impressive campaign last season in the Belgian top flight. Liege finished in 9th and will not feature in European competition for the first time in years after failing to battle through the Europa League play-off stage in May. Naturally, the owners sought out change, and former Portuguese international Ricardo Sa Pinto took charge of the team this summer. Hoffenheim should prove their biggest pre-season test yet after clinching huge wins over amateur sides Aywaille (4-0) and Wiltz (10-0) in the past few weeks.
On paper, TSG Hoffenheim are the much better side: they were the 2nd toughest team to beat in the Bundesliga last season, unbeaten at home and losing just four matches throughout the campaign (2nd fewest behind champions Bayern Munich). Meanwhile, Standand Liege not only struggled in their recent competitive fixtures, but they are also testing the waters with new players and manager alike. Hence, our prediction to back Hoffenheim to win at 4/6 is a decent shout, especially as their explosive manager has commented that “confidence is great” following the integration of his new players to training and that he wants to “win every game” going forward – fighting talk in preparation for their upcoming competitive fixtures!
Regarding a correct score prediction, given that this match is a friendly, there’s plenty of potential for goals at both ends. Neither side has anything “to lose” and Hoffenheim, though hard to beat last term, tend to outscore their opponents rather than focusing on “parking the bus” – Hoffenheim failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last ten matches on the road, and this friendly is being played in a neutral venue. As such, we feel that a 3-1 scoreline (Hoffenheim to win and both teams to score) at 12/1 holds some decent value for Saturday.
Julian Nagelsmann is responsible for Hoffenheim’s greatest result in team’s history.
The Germans will feature the playoffs Champions League before the start of the season in Bundesliga which is why they decided to start a bit earlier with the preparation period.
The only departure worth mentioning is the one of Nicklas Sule who was rewarded for an impressive season with a €17 million move to Bayern Munich.
Nagelsmann signed West Ham’s defensive midfielder Havard Nortdveit who should be a decent replacement.
The visitors have had a dismal campaign in the last term of First Division A and they will not feature European competitions for the first time in a while.
Team’s owners thus made a natural decision to bring the new fresh name on the bench which they did as famous Portuguese former player Ricardo Manuel Sa Pinto took charge of the team this summer.
The clash with Hoffenheim will be the first serious test for the Belgians in pre-season as they clinched demolishing wins over amateur teams of Aywaille and Wiltz before playing a 2-2 draw with Dudelange on Wednesday.
Hoffenheim vs Standard Liege: Head to head
This will be the first ever head to head encounter between the two sides.
Hoffenheim vs Standard Liege: Prediction
Standard showed plenty of holes in mid-week’s meeting with Luxembourg’s Dudelange and Sa Pinto will have a lot to work on to fix these before the start of the season.
Hoffenheim generally play attacking football, they have kept their star men in the attack from the last season and we expect them to exploit Standard’s defensive holes to the max this Saturday.
Hoffenheim vs Standard Liege: Betting Tips
The main betting prediction will be BTTS & Over 2.5 goals FT at the odds of 17/20.
We will alternatively take Hoffenheim Over 1.5 Team Goals at 9/10.