TSG Hoffenheim 1899 will be hoping they are not propping up the Bundesliga for long in 2016 as they entertain Bayer 04 Leverkusen in their first test of the new year (kick-off 15.30CET/14.30GMT).

The Sinsheim-based club spent the winter break at the very bottom of the Bundesliga, with 13 points from their first 17 games of the season. With new coach Huub Stevens a master in escape acts, they will be hoping to rise sooner rather than later.

Leverkusen will not be giving them a hand, though. They have two points to make up on fourth-placed Borussia Mönchengladbach to reach their main objective of the season, and Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez is showing no signs of wanting to stop scoring.

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History

© DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Matchday 1 rewind: Leverkusen 2-1 Hoffenheim

Goals: 0-1 Zuber (5'), 1-1 Kießling (45'), 2-1 Brandt (71')

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Bayer Leverkusen recovered from the shock of conceding an early goal to turn the tables on Hoffenheim and make a winning start to the season, thanks to goals from Stefan Kießling and Julian Brandt.

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Matchday 18 - match facts

  • The Hinrunde was Hoffenheim's second worst since gaining promotion to the Bundesliga. Only in 2012/13 did they have fewer points (12) than this term (13).
  • Leverkusen have won their last three competitive games - the first time they have achieved that feat this season.
  • Hoffenheim celebrated their first home win of the season at the eighth attempt, beating Hannover 96 just before the winter break.
  • Die Werkself have won all eight games this season in which they have taken the lead.
  • Huub Stevens picked up just seven points in his first seven games as Hoffenheim coach – his worst starting record at any club he has coached in the Bundesliga.
  • Hoffenheim's record against Leverkusen, with 13 defeats in 15 games, is their worst against any Bundesliga side.
  • Sinsheim is a happy hunting ground for Leverkusen, who have won six of their last seven visits, drawing the other.
  • Stefan Kießling has scored ten goals in 14 games against Hoffenheim.
  • Chicharito netted in seven of his last eight Bundesliga appearances, for a total of ten goals.

Possible line-ups

Hoffenheim: Baumann - Kaderabek, Schär, Süle, Kim - Strobl, Rudy - Schmid, Volland, Zuber - Vargas

Absentees: Tarik Elyounoussi (muscular), Kai Herdling (knee), Pirmin Schwegler (thigh)

Leverkusen: Leno - Jedvaj, Toprak, Tah, Wendell - Kampl, Kramer - Bellarabi, Calhanoglu - Kießling, Hernandez

Absentees: Roberto Hilbert (muscle tear), Charles Aranguiz (Achilles tendon), Sebastian Boenisch (muscle tear), Lars Bender (recovering)

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