Friday night's Bundesliga clash sees Hoffenheim begin a new era but Paul Robinson thinks that it won't get off to a good start against RB Leipzig.
Hoffenheim v RB Leipzig Friday 12 June, 19:30 Live on BT Sport
Out with the old
The big news ahead of this fixture is that Hoffenheim have sacked their manager, Alfred Schreuder. The timing is a bit odd given that the team have taken seven points from their last three matches, and that there are only four games left in the season.
Rookie Marcel Rapp has been given the job on a caretaker basis, and he couldn't face much more of a difficult task in his first fixture as manager. He can't afford to drop too many points before the end of the season either, as Hoffenheim are currently in a battle with Wolfsburg and Freiburg for the final Europa League place.
The team's form since the Bundesliga returned has been fairly good. They lost their opener in disappointing fashion against Hertha Berlin, but since then it's been two wins and two draws - albeit with the assistance of a kind run of games.
Leipzig can't rest on their laurels when it comes to the top four
Leipzig are unbeaten since the league returned, but they have still dropped six points. Draws with Freiburg, Hertha Berlin and Paderborn mean that their place in next season's Champions League is far from guaranteed, even though they retain third place in the table.
Both M'Gladbach and Leverkusen are only three points behind them, so a couple more slip-ups could see them in fifth, and in the Europa League. The good news for Julian Nagelsmann's side is that aside from Dortmund, they don't have any of the top six left to play, so they are still long-odds on to finish in the top four.
Scoring goals hasn't been an issue in this behind closed doors environment, but they have managed just one clean sheet of their own, as they conceded at least once in four of their five. They have also has discipline problems, with red cards hindering them in two of their draws.
Home advantage no more
The visitors are a short price for this clash at 1.46, but home advantage has gone out of the window since the league returned. Prior to the break, the home win percentage for the Bundesliga was 43.3%, however in the five rounds since, it has dropped dramatically to 21.74%.
With that fear allayed, Leipzig's recent failures to beat lesser teams needs to be addressed. I can forgive their 2-2 draw with Hertha, as that side have been a revelation under their new manager. The other two are harder to forgive though, although the one with Freiburg was their first match back, and against Paderborn on Sunday, they had to play the entire second half with 10 men - finally succumbing to the equaliser in the 92nd minute.
It is also worth noting that all three of those draws came at home, and in their two away games, they beat Mainz 5-0 and Koln 4-2. The reverse fixture was won by them too - 3-1 back in December.
As for the hosts, they can be backed at 7.00 to take the three points, but I wouldn't be confident in that at all. Their form isn't bad, but they have been facing some poor teams, and getting rid of the manager doesn't read well in the context of this game.
The draw is trading at around the 5.50 mark, which is something I might have been tempted by if Schreuder was still in charge. However he isn't, and it's not like an established manager has been put in his place at this stage.
Given the defensive frailties of Leipzig, the bet for me is a Leipzig win and both teams to score. The Exchange market doesn't have much liquidity at time of writing, but it's currently available to back at [2.25] on the Sportsbook, so you should get a bigger price on the Exchange nearer KO.
Plenty of goals expected
Since the return of the Bundesliga, the average goals per game has actually dropped slightly. It has gone from 3.21 to 3.02, but the goals have still been flowing for this pair.
Hoffenheim have had three of their five go Over 2.5 goals, and the same can be said for Leipzig. When the goals have come though, they have tended to come in their droves, with all bar one of those matches with at least three goals actually going Over 3.5.
On that basis I will brush over the 2.5 market - 1.40 for overs and 3.40 for unders - and take a punt on Over 3.5 at 1.96
Key Opta Stat
RB Leipzig have already won nine Bundesliga matches away from home this term - they only previously managed this in 2018/19. 10 victories on the road in a single BL season would mark a new club record.