1. FC Köln: FC managed to navigate their first match of the new season with relative ease, having put six past VSG Altglienicke in the DFB-Pokal first round. Markus Gisdol’s men also enjoyed a winning feeling throughout pre-season, with a solitary defeat coming at the hands of VfL Wolfsburg. FC are now keen to take that form into the weekend and secure a solid start against one of the Bundesliga's European representatives.
TSG Hoffenheim: After winning three of their four pre-season games, Hoffenheim are hoping to build upon their seventh place finish last season with a new head coach. Sebastian Hoeneß, who led FC Bayern II to the 3. Liga title in 2019-20, has been drafted in to replace Alfred Schreuder after the Dutchman was sacked before the close of the campaign. Hoeneß’ first competitive game was a close call, edging past Chemnitz on penalties. He’ll be hoping to improve upon that on Saturday.
Markus Gisdol: “Hoffenheim are a top opponent with a strong squad. They have many strong individuals in their team. They have a new coach who likes to play attacking football. It's always hard to predict how it will go with a new coach.”
Sebastian Hoeneß: “We didn't really get going in the game against Chemnitz. That can't happen against Köln, we need a strong start. However, what we can take away is that we showed great resolve in a difficult situation.”
1. FC Köln: Ismail Jakobs, Benno Schmitz, Anthony Modeste and Florian Kainz are all still absent due to their respective injuries. New signings Sebastian Andersson and Ondrej Duda have slotted straight into team training, though Markus Gisdol stated that he does not wish to rush either player or put on unnecessary pressure.
TSG Hoffenheim: Hoeneß has several injury concerns ahead of the first game of the Bundesliga season. Kostas Stafylidis will be a longer-term absentee, with the Greek defender requiring an operation. Benjamin Hübner and Havard Nordtveit are also injured. Robert Skov and Stefan Posch have not been able to train in the week leading up to the game and are doubtful.
Andrej Kramaric has been leading Hoffenheim’s line for the past four-and-a-half seasons, and has managed to hit double figures in each full campaign at the club. The Croatian forward has started the year as he means to go on, having scored a brace against Chemnitz in the DFB-Pokal. After his four goals against Borussia Dortmund to end the previous campaign, the 29-year-old will be keen to keep that going and score what would be his first goal against FC.
This will be announced on the day of the game.