After bein eliminated in the UEFA Champions League qualifying play-offs in 2017/18, Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann willget his first taste of the competition proper this season. - © © gettyimages / Jan Kruger
After bein eliminated in the UEFA Champions League qualifying play-offs in 2017/18, Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann willget his first taste of the competition proper this season. - © © gettyimages / Jan Kruger
Bundesliga

Champions League group stage lowdown: Hoffenheim

The UEFA Champions League group stage draw was an historic one for TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, representing the first time their name has been in the hat for the tournament proper.

Manchester City

And amid the ball rummaging, Hoffenheim were plucked from their pot and dropped into Group F alongside the respective champions of England and Ukraine in Manchester City and Shakhtar Donetsk, as well as last year's bronze medallist in Ligue 1; Lyon.

It will lead to somewhat of a baptism of fire for Hoffenheim as Julian Nagelsmann leads them into their Champions League group stage debut before bowing out at the end of the season himself.

With the first round of group fixtures to be played on 19 September, we at bundesliga.com have put together a bit of essential reading ahead of Hoffenheim's pursuit of Champions League glory with a rundown of their Group F rivals.

- © imago

Key player – Sergio Aguero

Manchester City's all-time record goalscorer may have left his twenties behind this year but is still one of the most potent strikers on the planet. Also the club's record scorer in both European and Champions League football, Aguero could cause more than a few nightmares for Nagelsman's defenders.

- © imago / Colorsport

Key player – Junior Moraes

Unlike Hoffenheim, the Ukrainians have pedigree when it comes to European football, having won the UEFA Europa League in 2009 and reached the semi-final stage just two years ago. Last year, they fell agonisingly short of their best ever performance in the Champions League, losing only on away goals to Roma in the last 16.

Follow Matchday 1 at Shakhtar HERE!

The Miners, as the club are fondly known, also have an admirable record against German clubs. That is as long as they are not facing Borussia Dortmund, who have beaten them on three occasions and drawn the other. Against Schalke, Eintracht Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Werder Bremen, they still boast unbeaten records with only Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich succeeding in beating them once, in addition to Dortmund.

The likes of former Bayern winger Douglas Costa, Willian and Fred have all previously played for Shakhtar, and it looks like Junior Moraes could be the next Brazilian to shine in their colours. A summer recruit from Dynamo Kiev, the travelled forward scored six goals in his first six games this season, benefitting from a great understanding with his compatriots Marlos and Taison, who not only speak the same language, but appear to be on the same wavelength as the 31-year-old forward.

Shakhtar beat Werder Bremen in the 2009 UEFA Cup final, their biggest triumph to date. - © gettyimages / FRANCK FIFE
- © imago / ZUMA Press
- © imago / Panoramic