Hoffenheim boss Julian Nagelsmann eager to face Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool

Klopp will take Liverpool to his native Germany for the first leg on August 15 with the return at Anfield on September 23.

Published: 04th August 2017 08:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th August 2017 08:46 PM   |  A+A-

Klopp will take Liverpool to his native Germany for the first leg on August 15 with the return at Anfield on September 23. | AP


BERLIN: Julian Nagelsmann says Hoffenheim's forthcoming play-off clash with Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool for a place in the Champions League group stages will help put the German club on the map.

The tie was the plum draw out of the pot on Friday to decide the Champions League play-offs fixtures.

Klopp will take Liverpool to his native Germany for the first leg on August 15 with the return at Anfield on September 23.

Nagelsmann says his players will not be intimidated, but admits the play-off tie will help boost the Bundesliga club's profile abroad.

"This puts us in the centre of attention, this is great for the public perception of our club," said the Hoffenheim boss.

Nagelsmann, who only turned 30 last month, is one of the most highly-rated young trainers in the game.

He proved his talent by taking Hoffenheim from the brink of relegation in 2015/16 to finish fourth last season in Germany's top flight to qualify for the play-offs.

Liverpool also finished fourth in England's Premier League last season under Klopp.

The five-time European champions were last in the Champions League in 2014-15, when they failed to make it out of their group.

Nagelsmann expects a battle royal in the first leg at the Rhein Neckar Arena in Sinsheim, south-west Germany, before the Anfield return.

"They won't be knocking back a few whiskeys just because they are playing us, but it's not as though we have no chance," said Nagelsmann.

"Liverpool were by far the strongest team in the pot, but it is not as though I would have rather played against Napoli.

"If you want to win the cup, you have to beat every opponent at some point."

Nagelsmann knows Klopp, 50, personally as they both have the same agent.

"We write messages to each other from time to time," said Nagelsmann.

"I like him because he has remained normal. And I rate him as a coach."

Plenty is at stake for the play-off with a place in the Champions League group stage worth 12.7 million euros ($15m) to the victor while the losers drop into the Europa League.

"If you want to be there, you have to win against one of the best teams in Europe," said Nagelsmann.

"Jurgen Klopp plays the same football with Liverpool as with Dortmund -- attacking football with a brutal tempo."

Hoffenheim were the last team in Europe's top five leagues to lose their unbeaten record last season, but have seen Germany internationals Niklas Suele and Sebastian Rudy snapped up by Bayern Munich for 2017/18.

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