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We anticipate this being an entertaining and relatively open encounter from the very first whistle.
Back over 1.5 goals in the first half of Hoffenheim vs Bayern Munich. (-105)
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Both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund faced high-flying Bundesliga upstarts last weekend, and only one of Germany’s big two came away unscathed. Dortmund were the latest victims of the unlikely league leaders, as Union Berlin ran out 2-0 winners at the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei.
Bayern fared rather better against Freiburg, who were demolished 5-0 at the Allianz Arena. It was a fantastic display from Julian Naglesmann’s side, who took the lead after just 13 minutes and never looked back from there.
Bayern are now up to second place in the standings, and although the four-point gap to Union remains, it is surely a matter of time before the champions are back on top. Despite their relatively patchy form of late, Bayern are still the overwhelming favorites to win the Bundesliga title.
The boys played a great game, all of them,” Nagelsmann said after the match. “Today we did it for 90 minutes. I’m very proud of the team - the win is highly deserved. We scored a lot of nice goals, it wasn’t a coincidence. We had a lot of good moments today.
Taking the strength of the opposition into account - Freiburg had lost only one of their previous nine matches - this might have been Bayern’s most impressive display of the campaign to date. The visitors to the Allianz were unable to muster even a single shot on target. That statistic underlines Bayern’s dominance, as does the one which shows they landed 16 shots on Freiburg’s goal.
Bayern have looked reenergized and refocused since the Bundesliga returned after the September international break. True, they were unable to prevent a Dortmund comeback at Signal Iduna Park, but a return of seven points against Bayer Leverkusen, BVB, and Freiburg is more than acceptable.
Hoffenheim’s highest-ever finish in the Bundesliga came under Nagelsmann, who led them to third in 2017/18. That was a phenomenal achievement for a club based in a village that rose through the divisions at the beginning of this century. Hoffenheim are now part of the furniture in the Bundesliga, and there is hope at the club that this season could bring a return to the Champions League.
Needless to say, that is a big ask. The best online sportsbooks have not yet changed their view that Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and RB Leipzig are the favorites to finish in the top four. And although Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach are not doing as well as expected, Union Berlin and Freiburg are both above Hoffenheim in the standings.
Andre Breitenreiter’s side are certainly in a good place, though. Breitenreiter replaced Sebastian Hoeness as the club’s manager in the summer and has made a positive start to his Hoffenheim tenure, overseeing wins in five of his 10 matches in charge. The latest of those was a confident 3-0 victory over Schalke last weekend, in which Hoffenheim took 17 shots at the VELTINS-Arena.
Qualification for the Europa League or the Europa Conference League will probably seem like a more realistic target as the season wears on, but Hoffenheim will be pleased with their start to the season. Upsetting Bayern on Saturday would be the highlight of their campaign to date.
The Bundesliga has always taken a longer winter break than Europe’s other major leagues - namely Serie A, Ligue 1, the Premier League, and La Liga - but its mid-season pause will be much lengthier than normal this time around.
The Bundesliga will stop on November 13 for the 2022 World Cup. It will not get back underway until January 20, by which time plenty will have changed: not only will some currently injured players be fit and vice versa, but German clubs will have had three weeks to add to their squads in the mid-season transfer market.
Between now and November 13, Bayern will contest five matches in the Bundesliga and another two in the Champions League. They will almost certainly finish top of their European group, so the priority should be picking up 15 points from a possible 15 in the league. After this trip to Hoffenheim, the champions will take on Mainz, Hertha Berlin, Werder Bremen, and Schalke - all eminently winnable matches.
Perhaps Saturday’s game against Hoffenheim is the toughest of that quintet. Bayern will look to make a fast start in a bid to break their opponents’ resolve in the first half, but Hoffenheim also pack a punch in attack - only three teams in the Bundesliga can better their tally of 18 expected goals.
Go for over 1.5 goals in the first half in Hoffenheim vs Bayern Munich, the highlight of this weekend’s round of Bundesliga fixtures.
|Teams||Hoffenheim vs Bayern Munich|
|Location||PreZone Arena, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany|
|Time||Saturday, 22 October 2022, 9.30 AM EST|
|How to watch||ESPN+|
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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