The 2018/19 Bundesliga season kicks off on 24 August with Bayern Munich getting their title defence underway against Julian Nagelsmann’s Hoffenheim. A mouth-watering fixture between last season’s first- and third- placed teams, bundesliga.com brings you five more things to know about the season opener!
1) Familiar faces for Gnabry
The first matchday will see Serge Gnabry come up against his recent former teammates. The attacking all-rounder was signed by Bayern in the summer of 2017 but left on loan to Hoffenheim a matter of days after walking through the door at the Allianz Arena. Despite some injuries, Gnabry was a major success in Sinsheim, scoring 10 goals and contributing five assists from his 22 games. Now, Gnabry wants to take his next step with the record German champions. He’s in good company: David Alaba, Sandro Wagner, Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy all used to turn out for Hoffenheim.
2) Nagelsmann’s favourite opponents?
Since Julian Nagelsmann became the Bundesliga’s youngest ever coach in October 2015 – at the age of 28 – Hoffenheim have boasted a positive record against Bayern. In four games between the two, Nagelsmann has overseen two wins, with one draw and just a single defeat. Even Bayern’s 5-2 victory in January saw Hoffenheim surge into a 2-0 lead after 12 minutes. Nagelsmann’s men have scored in every meeting with Bayern to date. The 30-year-old tactician also broke a nine-year curse on Matchday 27 of the 2016/17 campaign: Bayern had gone 17 games without defeat against Hoffenheim before Nagelsmann bettered the champions. However, Bayern remain undefeated against Hoffenheim at the Allianz Arena. Hoffenheim have picked up just two points from Munich to date.
Watch: Highlights of the seven-goal thriller when the teams met in January!
3) Fastest ever goal
History was made on Matchday 2 of the 2015/16 season. Just nine seconds were gone in Hoffenheim’s home match with Bayern when Kevin Volland – now of Bayer Leverkusen – opened the scoring. Nobody has ever scored a goal in a quicker time, though Volland shared the 9-second record with current Werkself teammate Karim Bellarabi, who managed the same feat against Borussia Dortmund a year earlier.
Watch: Volland and Bellarabi, the owners of 9-second goals!
4) Winter champion in 2009
The first ever match between the two teams in December 2008 is considered to be their most intense game to date. Promoted Hoffenheim were the surprise leaders of the Bundesliga table after 15 games played, playing some spectacular attacking football. Then coached by Ralf Rangnick, Hoffenheim travelled to Bayern on Matchday 16, and took the lead on 49 minutes through Vedad Ibisevic. Philipp Lahm equalised on the hour before Luca Toni found a last-minute winner for the Munich giants. Ultimately, the teams were tied on points going into the winter break, though Hoffenheim stayed top due to their superior goal-difference. At the end of the season Hoffenheim finished seventh. The champion that season? Wolfsburg.
5) Beware of Lewandowski and Robben
With five goals apiece, Arjen Robben and Robert Lewandowski are the record scorers in this fixture - alongside Mario Gomez, who now plays for VfB Stuttgart. In 12 Bundesliga games against Hoffenheim, Robben has had a direct hand in 11 goals. Lewandowski has scored eight goals in eight games against Die Kraichgauer. With three goals in the fixture, Hoffenheim’s Schalke-bound striker Mark Uth has the most goals scored for TSG against Bayern. Of the current squad, Kerem Demirbay and Andrej Kramaric have also scored against Bayern.