Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has welcomed a Champions League clash with Hoffenheim, admitting he felt that he would be heading back to his native Germany in the play-off round.
Klopp hailed the tie “really exciting” after Liverpool and Hoffenheim – who both finished fourth in the respective leagues last season – were paired together at Friday’s draw in Nyon.
Liverpool will head to Klopp’s homeland for the opening leg on August 15 before hosting Hoffenheim at Anfield eight days later. Liverpool fans can play the latest casino games at www.newcasino.site.
“Very interesting. 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! Sorry!” Klopp said.
“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, 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 pitches Roberto Firmino against his former club as the Brazilian striker spent four seasons at Hoffenheim before joining Liverpool in 2015.
Klopp has a mixed record versus Hoffenheim – winning five, drawing six and losing five of the 16 games with them while he was in charge of Mainz and Borussia Dortmund – but Liverpool have fared well against German opposition.
Liverpool have progressed from 14 of 16 two-legged knockout ties against German opposition, and are fresh from visiting the country at a pre-season training camp.
“It’s a wonderful region. Hoffenheim is more a village than a city,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com.
“It’s an absolutely settled Bundesliga club. It’s not too far away from my home, the area where I grew up.
“It’s a really wonderful region, 100 per cent, a nice stadium.”