Bayern Munich could put Hoffenheim in further relegation trouble on Sunday four years after the village club’s rise from the lower divisions to the top-flight Bundesliga culminated in top spot going into the winter break of the 2008-09 season.
The club, which rose through the divisions with the financial backing of wealthy investor Dietmar Hopp, seems to have run out of ideas after mistakes in the transfer market and a rapid turnover of coaches.
Another 12 million euros (85.36 crore rupees) spent on new players in the winter has also had no effect. One of those is the Brazilian goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, after former Germany international Tim Wiese had made a number of blunders.
Now Hoffenheim, with the worst defensive record in the league, have it all to do as they greet a Bayern side who are 17 points clear at the top with just one defeat from 23 games and a goal record of 63 scored to eight conceded.
To make matters worse, central defender Matthieu Delpierre is a doubt after an injury, while defenders Andreas Beck and Eugen Polanski are suspended.
Kurz wants the players to show character against Bayern after lambasting the team for the performance in Augsburg, saying half the side had still not realized they were in a relegation battle.
“You can be sure we won’t be giving up,” he said. “We are on the ground now but the play-off place is possible and I, together with the team, will be doing everything to achieve it.”
Dortmund meanwhile greet Hanover on Saturday aiming to retain second spot, with third-placed Bayer Leverkusen at home to Stuttgart in the day’s later game.DPA