BERLIN – Julian Nagelsmann hopes his Hoffenheim team can inflict a third straight Bundesliga defeat on Bayern Munich this Saturday – amid rumours that the 30-year-old will be the Bavarian's next head coach.
Hoffenheim have won both of the last two matches against Bayern – sealing a home victories by a score of 2-0 last September and by 1-0 the previous April.
To achieve a hat-trick of wins over Bayern, Nagelsmann, Germany's coach of the year in 2016, must now beat the runaway league leaders at their own Allianz Arena.
Bayern have won 17 of their last 18 games in all competitions, while Hoffenheim have won just two of their last ten games to drop to ninth in the table.
"We aren't on a mega-run of results, unlike Bayern," admitted Nagelsmann.
"But going there trying not to lose is the wrong approach, we'll be trying to win – let's see if we can do it."
Hoffenheim's tally of 13 points in as many league games has seen them plummet down the table.
In contrast, Bayern are 16 points clear and steaming towards a sixth straight title.
After flooring Werder Bremen 4-2 last Sunday, when Thomas Mueller and Robert Lewandowski both scored twice, Bayern are in no mood to slow up.
"Hoffenheim have done very well against us recently, but I think it's time to put things right and show who are German champion," chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge wrote in the match-day programme.
Bayern striker Sandro Wagner, defender Niklas Suele and midfielder Sebastian Rudy could all feature against their ex-club.
"Julian is a very meticulous coach with an incredible amount of knowledge. A tactics freak, I would almost say," Suele told goal.com.
Nagelsmann helped develop the trio into Germany internationals while they were all at Hoffenheim up until the end of last season.
"Maybe he can score a goal for us," Nagelsmann joked hoping for an own goal from Wagner.
Both Bayern defenders Mats Hummels and David Alaba could return after recovering from colds.
Polish striker Lewandowski will be trying to add to his tally of 17 goals in 18 league games this season.
Nagelsmann is the hot favourite to replace Jupp Heynckes as Bayern's head coach for next season and deflects constant questions about his future.
"I will not comment about any other club, I can only reiterate how much I enjoy driving to Hoffenheim's ground and how close I am to the club," he said tersely on Thursday.
Rummenigge says he and president Uli Hoeness have launched 'a charm offensive' to convince Heynckes to stay for next season.
However, Heynckes, 72, insists he will leave in May.
Nagelsmann's Hoffenheim contract expires in 2021, but an opt-out clause allows him to leave in the German summer of 2019.
The club's backer, software billionaire Dietmar Hopp, has insisted on several occasions that Nagelsmann will not leave early.
Hopp has named David Wagner, a German who has led Huddersfield Town into the English Premier League, as a possible successor to Nagelsmann.
Fixtures (all times 16:30 unless stated)
Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Moenchengladbach (2130)
Bayern Munich v Hoffenheim, Borussia Dortmund v Freiburg, RB Leipzig v Hamburg, Cologne v Augsburg, VfB Stuttgart v Schalke, Werder Bremen v Hertha Berlin (1930)
Bayer Leverkusen v Mainz, Hanover 96 v Wolfsburg (1900)