For the first of two midweek matches in a row, the personnel situation for the VfB boss is similar to what it was before Saturday’s home game against Mainz. Laurin Ulrich is still suffering from the effects of flu, Dan-Axel Zagadou is in individual training after his ligament tear and making good progress, while Borna Sosa completed parts of the group session on Sunday.
Chris Führich is closer to a return following his two operations during the World Cup, and could even travel to Hoffenheim. “He’s not ready for 90 minutes yet,” confirmed Labbadia. “Chris is doing well and I’ve already spoken to him many times about his current situation. He can give the team valuable impetuses when he comes off the bench.” Impetus is something that midfielder Atakan Karazor also gave the team against Mainz. “Ata takes responsibility on the pitch, organises and communicates. He’s very inquisitive about tactics and can carry out instructions well and quickly on the pitch,” continued Labbadia.
The VfB head coach certainly doesn’t believe that the opponents from Sinsheim belong in the bottom half of the table based on their performances. “Hoffenheim had a good start to the season and have Champions League ambitions,” said the 56-year-old. “They have a lot of potential – they’re technically skilled and athletic, among other things. They’re not in the best of form at the moment. We now have the chance to draw level with them.”