Bayern Munich will be seeking to maintain their perfect home record as they take on 17th-placed Hoffenheim at the Allianz Arena this Sunday.
Although die Roten resumed action after the winter break in the best way possible by defeating Hamburg 2-1, Pep Guardiola nonetheless was not impressed by his side’s performance and will be expecting them to kick into a higher gear in their first home match of 2016. A brace from Robert Lewandowski was enough to get the job done and ensure that the reigning champions remained eight points clear of Borussia Dortmund. However, the win came at a cost as Jérôme Boateng suffered a groin injury and is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, and with a crunch clash against Serie A powerhouse Juventus coming up, Boateng’s injury could not come at a worse time.
But until Champions League action resumes next month, Bayern have the league to focus on as they hope to make it a record-setting fourth straight title this May. Although the hosts will be also missing Franck Ribéry, Mario Götze, Medhi Benatia, and Rafinha, they will be welcoming a side that has won just twice all season and have never beaten them in their past 15 Bundesliga meetings. Hoffenheim have only avoided defeat on four occasions and three out of those draws were not at the Allianz Arena.
Indeed, the odds appear to be heavily stacked against die Kraichgauer, who are four points from safety. Huub Stevens’s squad, who finished in a comfortable eighth last season have been quite disappointing this term and are facing a desperate fight to avoid the drop. A 1-1 draw with Bayer Leverkusen last weekend will have lifted fans’ spirits a bit, but it certainly has not helped lift the team out of relegation zone.
Hoffenheim’s woes are compounded by the fact that they have won just one game on the road: a 3-1 victory over Augsburg back on September 26, 2015. Since then, they have gone on to lose three and draw two, and since matchday nine, have fluctuated between being absolutely last and their current 17th place, only propped up by their superior goal difference versus Hannover’s.
Huub will also be missing a few players, with Tarik Elyounoussi and Kai Herdling both still recovering from injuries. Unfortunately for the visitors, this looks like it is going to be a case of damage control and try to keep the score-line as respectable as possible. It was at the Allianz Arena that they suffered the worst ever defeat in their history when they were absolutely humiliated 7-1 on March 10, 2012.
Meanwhile, for Bayern, this will represent a good chance for them to fully shake off some of that post-holiday rust as they prepare for a busy second half of the season.