The anticipating is building day-by-day for the players of 1899 Hoffenheim. An exciting season is on the horizon for Rangnick's charges. The squad has a new captain - one who was "hugely disappointed" not to have been given the nod for Germany's World Cup squad - and he is looking forward to working in his new role: "I am excited for the responsibility and the challenge of wearing the armband. I am fully aware of what is expected and want to perform this role to the best of my abilities", said Andreas Beck, the captain who has a positive feeling about the opening Bundesliga game against Werder Bremen. "The first half in Rostock was good from us. We are now looking to Saturday, and looking to put the Bremen back line under pressure."
Game two after Mesut Özil
Head coach Ralf Rangnick was present as Bremen beat Sampdoria 3:1 in their Champions League qualification game in midweek, and wasn't able to notice any big changes in their opponents. "Their manager is the same. We've played against each other so many times now so we know how they play. Their playing style hasn't changed a great deal. I just wanted to see how they would deal without the services of Mesut Özil", said Rangnick.
Without Gulde, Jaissle and Obasi against Bremen
Head coach Ralf Rangnick must do without a trio of players for the first game of the season. Manuel Gulde is out with a knee injury, Chinedu Obasi is in rehabilitation following a stress fracture of his tibia while Matthias Jaissle is recovering from a heel injury. One positive for the manager is the return of Carlos Eduardo, who started the Rostock game on the substitutes bench. Whether or not he will start the game, however, Rangnick was not prepared to answer: "It's a great situation to be in when we have players available", said Rangnick. "We have a few players in good form at present, and the knowledge that nobody is guaranteed a game should be reason enough for them all to work hard in training to impress."
Rangnick discusses speculation surrounding Sebastian Rudy
According to numerous newspapers Hoffenheim are closing in on the capture of Sebastian Rudy from rivals VfB Stuttgart. Just as Ernst Tanner did recently, Rangnick wouldn't give too much away regarding the speculation. "It is news to me. He is a player who are interested in, just like many others. He doesn't appear to be in the plans for Stuttgart at the moment, but we are in no position to pay the sort of money being banded around in the papers."
Dates and facts about the Bremen game
Hoffenheim have never lost an opening game Bundesliga game. In their first year they defeated Cottbus 3:0, and last year they drawn 1:1 with Bayern Munich. Bremen on the other hand have no won in three attempts on the opening day. They lost 2:3 to Frankfurt last year. The two teams have met five times in total, with Hoffenheim emerging with just one victory. However the signs are there for a positive result this time against Bremen - that's according to captain Andreas Beck. "It is no disadvantage to start the season against the top teams. We didn't have too many players at the World Cup so we have been able to prepare ourselves well. That could be to our advantage. We're certainly looking forward to the new Bundesliga season."
The press conference before the Werder Bremen game will shortly be available in full on achtzehn99.tv.