"Our opponents will draw from the emotion of the crowd", warned trainer Ralf Rangnick who is wary of the effect the Betzenberg can have on the match. Josip Simunic agreed stating that the stadium, the fans and the atmosphere will provide a "big advantage for Kaiserslautern". The 12th man has already played a part this season having inspired their team to an incredible 2:0 win over reigning champions FC Bayern München. It is pure passion on Betzenberg, hence the motto: Be better than Bayern. The match against the newly promoted side will be no easy task and the trainer and team are aware of the difficulties: "Kaiserslautern have won 6 points, that deserves respect. The match will provide a big challenge for us", explained Rangnick.
A clean sheet is important
Having scored 9 goals in their opening 3 matches with wins against Bremen (4:1), St. Pauli (1:0) and Schalke 04 (2:0), Hoffenheim travel to the "Red Devils" as league leaders and will be hoping to maintain that position after the heated contest in the Fritz-Walter-Stadion. "We are confident that we can win these sorts of matches, whilst defending our clean sheet", stated Rangnick. These two teams have only met twice, both in the 2. Bundesliga, where 1899 emerged victorious both times (1:0, 2:0). Only Josep Simunic has bad memories of facing Kaiserslautern. Whilst with Hertha BSC Berlin , the Croatian was part of the team that let a two goal lead slip and ended up losing the match 2:4. "That will not happen again", clarified Simunic.
Compper still a question mark
Against the team in 5th, who Simunic believes are strong in the tackle, aggressive and quick, Ralf Rangnick has an almost complete squad to choose from. The only remaining question mark relates to Marvin Compper. Two days before the match the defender was complaining of back pains and was unable to participate in training on Thursday. If Compper was to be unavailable against Kaiserslautern it could mean an opportunity will be given to either Christian Eichner or Andreas Ibertsberger. Meanwhile, Simunic and Isaac Vorsah have both recovered from niggling injuries and are fit to start but long term injury victims Matthias Jaissle and Chinedu Obasi will again be missing from the squad.
With the addition of new signings Glyfi Sigurdsson and Sebastian Rudy, the Hoffenheim squad has become more competitive, a positive fact in the eyes of trainer Ralf Rangnick: "The lads are full of energy. No one holds back. The starting 11 know that their teammates are strong and snapping at their heels to get into the starting line-up. If it is enough for Rudy or Sigurdsson to start the match at Kaiserslautern remains to be seen. However, "both players are improving week in week out", said Rangnick to praise his two new signings.