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Hoffenheim v Liverpool: play-off facts and stats

Hoffenheim's debut in European competition is an occasion made even more notable by Liverpool's return to the UEFA Champions League and a German homecoming for Jürgen Klopp.

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp is going back to Germany
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp is going back to Germany ©Getty Images

Liverpool FC manager Jürgen Klopp returns to his homeland to take on continental debutants TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in an intriguing UEFA Champions League play-off tie.

Previous meetings
• This is Hoffenheim's first European tie, with the play-off first leg at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena in Sinsheim marking the start of their maiden continental campaign.

• Fourth place in the 2016/17 Bundesliga was the south-west German club's best-ever league finish.

• Liverpool are unbeaten in their last six encounters with German opposition; their overall record reads P36 W17 D13 L6 F58 A31 (W11 D3 L0 at home, W2 D8 L4 away).

Match background
• After a year's absence from European competition, Liverpool qualified for the play-offs by coming fourth in last season's Premier League.

• Since 2009/10, when the Reds failed to get out of their UEFA Champions League group, this is their second appearance in the competition following another group-stage participation in 2014/15.

• The aim for Liverpool, five-time European champions, is a tenth tilt at the UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Their last European campaign, 2015/16, ended in a UEFA Europa League final defeat by Sevilla FC in Basel.

• The last five European games at Anfield have produced a home victory; in fact, Liverpool are unbeaten in nine home matches in Europe, since a 3-0 reverse to Real Madrid CF on 22 October 2014.

• In contrast, they have won just one of their last 12 European away fixtures (D6 L5), that victory coming at FC Rubin Kazan on 5 November 2015 in their UEFA Europa League group.

Team and coach links
• Klopp faced Hoffenheim 16 times as a manager during his career in Germany. His record was D1 L1 with 1. FSV Mainz 05, and W5 D5 L4 with Borussia Dortmund.

• Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino was at Hoffenheim between 2011 and 2015, scoring 38 goals in 140 league games.

• TSG's Nadiem Amiri, Sandro Wagner and Kerem Demirbay, together with Emre Can of Liverpool, helped Germany win the FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia in July.

Coach profiles
• The Bundesliga's youngest-ever head coach when appointed Hoffenheim boss in February 2016, at the age of 28, Julian Nagelsmann initially helped stave off the threat of relegation with a combination of tactical know-how and excellent man-management. That same recipe, developed during a long coaching apprenticeship with FC Augsburg, TSV 1860 München and TSG, then fuelled their march to fourth place last term.

• A UEFA Champions League runner-up as Dortmund coach in 2013, Klopp steered Liverpool into this month's play-offs at the conclusion to his first full season in English football. The league title and cup success that the charismatic 50-year-old enjoyed with BVB has so far eluded him, though he did lead the Merseysiders to the UEFA Europa League and English League Cup finals of 2016.