Sports

Liverpool Face Hoffenheim in Champions League Playoff

145

Liverpool will have to overcome Hoffenheim in a two-legged playoff to reach the group stages of the Champions League.

The draw was made in Nyon on Friday with Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino’s former club Hoffenheim, who finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season, drawing Jurgen Klopp’s side out of the hat.

Liverpool, last winners of the Champions League in 2005, will be hoping to feature in the group stage for the first time since the 2014-15 season.

The first leg will be played at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena on Aug. 15, with the return fixture at Anfield scheduled for Aug. 22 or 23.

Full draw:

Istanbul Basaksehir vs. Sevilla
Young Boys vs. CSKA Moscow
Napoli vs. Nice
Hoffenheim vs. Liverpool
Sporting Lisbon vs. FCSB
Qarabag vs. Copenhagen
Apoel Nicosia vs. Slavia Prague
Olympiakos vs. Rijeka
Celtic vs. Astana
Hapoel Beer-Sheva vs. Maribor

Last season saw Liverpool finish in the Premier League’s top four for only the second time in eight seasons.

Hoffenheim head coach Julian Nagelsmann admits his side face a real challenge in qualifying for the group stage but he is excited about taking on the Premier League side.

“It’s indeed a tough draw, but there wasn’t really one easy draw,” he told Hoffenheim’s official website. “We can play against a great opponent in a legendary stadium. It’s something special.

“Only this morning, I said that if you want to win the trophy you have to beat every opponent and so we also need to come out on top against Liverpool. I had a feeling it would be Liverpool and I think it’s a great thing for both our fans and the media.

Klopp talks to players vs Atleti 170802
Liverpool will be hoping to reach the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2014-15 season.
“Jurgen Klopp is back in Germany. I believe they would not have necessarily picked us as their opponents. We will give it our all to progress. Liverpool are an outstanding team. I already have an idea how we can achieve something, but we still need to see a couple of matches to work out a plan.”

Hoffenheim sporting director Alexander Rosen added: “We are incredibly happy, that’s something special. I was anxious before the draw. It’s a great challenge, but we are just delighted to take part in it.

“Jurgen Klopp will be here, and Firmino returns. All of that turns a great situation into an absolutely special one. Our ambition will know no bounds. We will surely compete to reach the group stages.”

Speaking in Munich earlier this week, Klopp attempted to play down the tie by saying: “We don’t have to make it any bigger than it is. In one-and-a-half weeks we’re starting against Watford, we can’t forget that.”

Among the other fixtures from the League side of the draw is Napoli’s tie against Nice, which will see Mario Balotelli return to Italy with his French side, while Sevilla take on Istanbul Basaksehir.

In the Champions section of the draw, Scottish club Celtic were drawn against Kazakh side Astana.

Celtic’s reward for their third qualifying round victory over Rosenborg of Norway is to once again make the near 8,000-mile round trip to Kazakhstan.

Brendan Rodgers’ side played Astana in the Champions League last season, drawing 1-1 in Kazakhstan before winning the return game 2-1.

Leave a comment

Related Articles

WAFU B U17: For first time in 25 years, Golden Eaglets fail to qualify for the back-to-back World Cup

The Nigerian Golden Eaglets will miss out on the 2025 Africa U17...

Ronaldo breaks two records in one night

Cristiano Ronaldo has shattered two more goals after scoring a brace in...

Basketball Africa League: Rivers Hoopers defeat US Monastir to reach historic semi-final

Nigeria’s representative in the ongoing Basketball Africa League (BAL), Rivers Hoopers BC,...

NNPC Ltd. condoles with Tijjani Babangida over loss of brother, son

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) has paid a condolence...

WAFU B U-17: Eaglets cruise to semi-finals, to face Baby Elephants

Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets sailed majestically into the semi-finals of the ongoing WAFU...

Sen. Enoh lists string of achievements in sports sector

Sen. John Enoh, the Minister of Sports Development, has outlined a series...

2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers: FIFA replaces officials of Benin Republic-Nigeria clash

FIFA has made changes to the officiating team for the 2026 World...

Atalanta 3-0 Leverkusen: Ademola Lookman stunning hat-trick in Europa League final sinks Leverkusen

Atalanta BC have won a European trophy for the first time in...

Breaking: Mauricio Pochettino leaves Chelsea by’mutual consent’ after just one season at Stamford Bridge

Following an end-of-season internal review between Pochettino and sporting directors Laurence Stewart...

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos announces shock retirement in emotional statement

Real Madrid and Germany midfielder Toni Kroos will retire from professional football...

Breaking: Manchester City crowned Premier League champions for 4th season in a row as Arsenal miss out

Winning is part of Pep Guardiola’s genetic code, as Manchester City became...

Dominican Republic 2024: Flamingos thrash Burkinabe girls 6-0 to cruise to final round

Nigeria reached the final round of the African qualification series for this...

Enoh sends message to Super Eagles winger Moses Simon, others facing injury layoffs

The Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Owan Enoh, conveyed heartfelt wishes...

Brazil named 2027 Women’s World Cup hosts

After defeating a joint bid from Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany (BNG),...

Tinubu seeks reps’ approval of N24bln as reimbursement for Kebbi, Nasarawa airports

President Bola Tinubu has urged the House of Representatives to grant concurrent...

Forbes lists Cristiano Ronaldo as world’s highest-paid athlete in 2024

Forbes on Thursday released its 2024 top 10 highest-paid athletes in the...

Haaland’s double deal bitter deal bitter title blow to Arsenal

Understanding the consequences of defeat, Manchester City got the job done at...

Team Nigeria set for glory at Paris 2024 Olympics – FG

The Minister of Sports Development, Sen. John Enoh, has assured Team Nigeria...

Emirates Stadium becomes main home of Arsenal women in groundbreaking move

Arsenal women will use Emirates Stadium as their main home ground from...

NFF to give Finidi house, chauffeur-driven car for ease of operation

For ease of performing his job, the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) has...