Champions League

Klopp welcomes Hoffenheim tie

Jurgen Klopp (Getty Images)
Jurgen Klopp (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he always seems to draw German teams after getting paired with Hoffenheim for the Champions League playoffs.

The Reds will face Die Kraichgauer, who finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season, for a place in the group stages, and Klopp said he had a gut feeling he would be returning to Germany again after facing former club Borussia Dortmund in 2016.

"Very interesting," Klopp said after Friday's draw. "Actually it was exactly what I expected when I had a look. If there’s a choice, we always seem to take the German team. 

"It was clear from the first moment when we knew who we could face that there would be no easy game. It’s Hoffenheim and that’s for sure not an easy game.

"But we should always not forget what they thought in the moment they saw the draw. It’s not the best thing they could get. I’m completely fine with it, happy to know and now we can start preparing.

"They are a strong side, how everybody can imagine. When you are fourth in Germany you are a strong side. It’s a very interesting club.

"They have a lot of really good young players. They lost two of them, Sebastian Rudy and Niklas Sule to Bayern Munich and had a little change. They have a very young manager, Julian Nagelsmann, just 30 years old, a very talented man.

"First we’ll play Watford but at the same time we’ll start preparing for Hoffenheim and it’s really exciting."

The tie will also pit Reds forward Roberto Firmino against his former club, making them familiar opposition for the Brazilian as well as Klopp, who has faced them 16 times while in charge of Mainz and Dortmund (winning five, losing five, and drawing six).

"It’s a wonderful region," Klopp told his club's official website of the part of Germany that the Reds will visit on 15 or 16 August for the first leg at the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena.

"Hoffenheim is more a village than a city. It’s an absolutely settled Bundesliga club. It’s not too far away from my home, the area where I grew up.

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