By Ben Sully @SullyBen
After beginning his tenure as Hoffenheim boss with a 3-1 defeat against Bayer Leverkusen, Pellegrino Matarazzo will be looking to lead his side to victory when Die Kraichgauer face Augsburg on Friday.
Augsburg have experienced mixed results since the winter break, winning two and losing three of their five matches in 2023. Last weekend, Fuggerstädter were beaten 3-1 by Mainz in a game which produced three goals in the opening half hour. Lee Jae-sung and Karim Oniswo both grabbed a goal apiece before Ermedin Demirović scored from the penalty spot to halve the deficit. However, Lee scored his second goal of the game in the 52nd minute to ensure Augsburg returned to Bavaria empty-handed.
The result extends Augsburg’s winless away run to six league games, and leaves them in 13th place in the Bundesliga table – four points above the relegation zone.
Although Enrico Maaßen’s side have struggled on their travels, they have the chance to claim a third consecutive home victory after beating Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 in their last two matches.
Augsburg are unable to call upon a number of players due to injury issues, including Mads Pedersen, Irvin Cardona, Ruben Vargas, Andre Hahn and Tobias Strobl. Illness is expected to keep Niklas Dorsch sidelined, while Reece Oxford and Iago are doubts.
After overseeing a 10-game winless run in all competitions, André Breitenreiter was relieved of his duties as Hoffenheim boss. Matarazzo, who was sacked by Stuttgart earlier this season, was announced as Breitenreiter’s replacement, but his first game in charge against Leverkusen was a forgettable experience.
Leverkusen took a three-goal lead thanks to goals from Robert Andrich, Moussa Diaby and Adam Hložek. Stanley Nsoki scored a late consolation to restore a degree of respectability to their scoreline, but after losing three consecutive league games, Hoffenheim are just two points clear of the bottom three.
Having conceded at least two goals in each of their last nine competitive games, Matarazzo will need to shore up his defence if Hoffenheim are to have any chance of moving away from the danger zone.
Robert Skov, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Grischa Prömel are all ruled out through injury, while Dennis Geiger will serve a one-match suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season last weekend.