Fortuna Dusseldorf continue their fight against relegation as they welcome Hoffenheim to the Merkur Spiel-Arena on Saturday afternoon. Die Flingeraner took a pasting last weekend and need to bounce back quickly against their in-form visitors.
Where and when: Merkur Spiel-Arena – 6 June, kick-off 14:30
Where you can see Fortuna Dusseldorf vs. Hoffenheim: BT Sport
Last time: Andrej Kramaric put Hoffenheim into an early lead when the teams met at the PreZero Arena at the end of November, a lead the home team held onto for more than 80 minutes before Rouwen Hennings rescued a point for the visitors with a late equaliser.
Fortuna Dusseldorf v Hoffenheim Predictions and Preview
That stalemate between the teams earlier this season was the third 1-1 draw between them in their five Bundesliga meetings. There’s never been an away win in this fixture, but this match could be the one to change that particular statistic with the Merkur Spiel-Arena empty due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Another ‘ghost game’ gives Hoffenheim an advantage compared to if Fortuna had their baying home crowd inside the stadium. That could be significant for Uwe Rosler’s side, who are down in the Bundesliga’s relegation and facing a potential play-off to stay in the division, if not a straight demotion to the second tier.
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Hoffenheim to win to nil
Hoffenheim to win 3-0
Baumgartner to score first
Saturday’s 5-0 demolition at the hands of Bayern Munich was the last thing Die Rheinlander needed for their confidence, especially after picking up a superb 2-1 victory over Schalke in their previous match, which had taken them to six-games unbeaten in the Bundesliga.
In fairness, a Bavarian battering can happen to any team in the German top flight at any time – the key is how Dusseldorf’s players react to the setback. They will have to do so against a team in good nick right now, with Hoffenheim winning their last two matches coming into this one.
Those back-to-back victories over Koln and Mainz erased the memory of a 3-0 home loss to Hertha Berlin on their return to action following the enforced break. They also keep Die Kraichgauer firmly in the race for sixth place and a spot in next season’s Europa League.
A victory here for either side is crucial, and the home team will have to try and get it without on-loan goalkeeper Zack Steffen. Bernard Tekpetey is also a doubt, although Dawid Kownacki is back in training after a knee injury.
The visitors meanwhile are in much worse shape on the fitness front, with as many as six players out of this game. Kramaric, Ishak Belfodil and Jacob Larsen are all definitely out, while Florian Grillitsch, Konstantinos Stafylidis and Sargis Adamyan are all doubts too.
Whether or not you think that will have any bearing on the outcome of this match, the away team start as the 6/4 favourites to take the three points back to Baden-Wurttemberg with them. The hosts are priced at 15/8, while the draw’s available at 5/2.
One to watch for Fortuna: Rouwen Hennings is Fortuna’s top scorer this season with 16 goals from 31 league and cup games. He netted a late equaliser when these teams met earlier this season, and is the 5/1 favourite to break the deadlock on Saturday.
One to watch for Hoffenheim: With Kramaric injured, there’s more pressure on Christoph Baumgartner to come up with the goods. He did just that with a brace against Koln last week, which included the opener, and he’s 13/2 to strike first here.
Long shot: These teams have only met five times in the Bundesliga, with Hoffenheim’s only victory a 3-0 success back in April 2013. The visitors are 28/1 to replicate that scoreline this weekend.