Liverpool will play Hoffenheim for a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

By 90Min
August 15, 2017

Liverpool's 2017/18 campaign has not got off to the best start. In-fact, it got pretty bad before it even began with Philippe Coutinho catching everyone by surprise with a transfer request and is looking at a move to Barcelona.

Jurgen Klopp's men opened their season with a 3-3 draw at Watford, where it can be said they dropped two points. The Reds will be keen to get their season back on track and it starts with a tricky trip to exciting German side, Hoffenheim - who they've never played before. 

So, who exactly are Hoffenheim?

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Managed by a 30-year-old called Julian Nagelsmann, he guided them to their highest ever Bundesliga finish last season (4th); Hoffenheim will want to create more history by qualifying for the Champions League for the first ever time.

The club, also known as Die Kraichgauer, sold Liverpool Roberto Firmino, who struck 49 times in 153 appearances for them. This season they've acquired the services of former Arsenal and now Bayern Munich midfielder Serge Gnabry on loan.

But arguably their best player is Kerem Demirbay - a 24-year-old attacking midfielder. In other words, he can be considered as Hoffenheim's Coutinho. 

How did they do last season?

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As mentioned above, Hoffenheim enjoyed their highest ever finish in Bundesliga by finishing 4th. Perhaps their most impressive stat was that in the whole league, only Bayern Munich conceded fewer goals.

They also scored the most goals from set-pieces, which doesn't sound good for Liverpool, who let in goals from set-pieces at will.

Their main man Andrej Kramaric, formerly of Leicester City, was the club's top scorer - netting 15 goals in 34 appearances. Naggelsmann is a very efficient manager - last season he had Hoffenheim playing very deep, inviting pressure, only to kill them on counter attacks. They however racked up the most draws in the league last season.

A brief look at he club's history:

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Touted as 'the modern day club' were only officially formed after the second World War. They had a meteoric rise in 2006 when the club attracted big investments and after reaching Germany's 2nd division. 

They finished runners-up in their first season and found themselves in the Bundesliga by 2008. Their most notable players have been former Chelsea striker Demba Ba and ex-Bayern Munich man Luis Gustavo. In their first official season in the Bundesliga they won the coveted unofficial title 'Herbstmeister', which is the 'Autumn champion'. 

Liverpool will have no easy ride as they look to book their place in the Champions League draw. Hoffenheim will host the first leg, where they have been impressive over the last two seasons.

Nagelsmann has started something special with the club and it would be the biggest win in the club's history if they were to see off Liverpool.

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