bundesliga

Sami Khedira signs off with loss as Andrej Kramaric nets Hoffenheim winner against Hertha Berlin

FIFA World Cup winner Sami Khedira was on the losing side in the final game of his career after Andrej Kramaric got a late winner for Hoffenheim against Hertha Berlin.

Hoffenheim 2-1 Hertha Berlin
Goals: 0-1 Darida (43’), 1-1 Adamyan (49’), 2-1 Kramaric (90+1)

Pal Dardai made six changes to the team that secured Hertha's top-flight status with a scoreless draw at home to Cologne last time out, handing 2014 world champion Khedira one last start as well as giving him the captain's armband. The opening exchanges saw Hertha winger Nemanja Radonjic have a shot beaten away by Hoffenheim netminder Philipp Pentke at his near post before Sargis Adamyan lashed a strike into the side net for the home side. On 10 minutes Ihlas Bebou lifted the ball over Hertha keeper Alexander Schwolow from close range - and over the bar - after Kramaric dinked the ball into him. Kramaric - mid-table Hoffenheim's skipper for the day - threatened a 20th league goal of the season before Radonjic was off target with another strike in a lively opening. A quiet period followed before Robert Skov played in Pavel Kaderabek on the half hour, only for the Hoffenheim full-back to fire wide with a first-time shot from the right of the six-yard box. The game seemed to be drifting towards half-time until Hertha left-back Marvin Plattenhardt whipped over a great cross that found Vladimir Darida completely unmarked to head home his first goal of the season from six yards out.

Hertha brought on Dodi Lukebakio and Santiago Ascacibar at the interval, and the latter's attempt to burst into the area almost led to a second goal for the visitors three minutes after the restart. The ball broke to Darida who stroked the ball off the post from inside the penalty area, a miss that he would regret even more only a minute later. Hoffenheim put together a good move that ended with on-loan Tottenham full-back Ryan Sessegnon sending a low ball across from the left that was slotted home by Adamyan from eight yards out. Kramaric then looked set to fire the hosts into the lead three minutes later, but Hertha defender Peter Pekarik threw himself in the way for a superb block. Substitute Daishawn Redan got a header on target and Lukebakio had a shot pushed over as Hertha came back into the game, with Redan later showing great skill before Pentke denied him again. With 16 minutes to go an emotional Khedira was withdrawn, and the 34-year-old was embraced by his teammates and given a guard of honour by the visitors as he left the field for the final time. With the veteran midfielder off the field, Kramaric stole all three points for Hoffenheim in injury-time after sweeping in from Bebou's pass.

Match stats

  • A Bundesliga winner with VfB Stuttgart in 2006/07, Khedira made 107 appearances in the German top flight, including nine this season with Hertha. He also represented Real Madrid and Juventus, playing 447 senior club matches as well as 77 times for Germany.
  • Kramaric set a Hoffenheim club record by finishing with 20 league goals for the campaign.
  • The Croatian has eight career goals against Hertha, but this was his first outside of Berlin.
  • On the final day of the season, Czech Republic midfielder Darida finally found the net with his 24th attempt at goal. The 30-year-old had three goals in the 2019/20 campaign.
  • Hoffenheim ended the campaign in 11th and unbeaten in their last seven league outings. They won three and drew four of those games.
  • The Old Lady have only taken one point from six trips to Hoffenheim under coach Dardai.

Line-ups

Hoffenheim: Pentke - Kaderabek, Posch, Vogt, Sessegnon (John 69') - Grillitsch, Samassekou (Rudzy 64') - Skov (Rutter 64'), Kramaric (c), Adamyan - Bebou
Unused subs: Noll, Philipp, Adams, Bogarde, Haider
Out: Akpoguma (thigh), Baumann (pelvis), Baumgartner (ankle), Belfodil (knock), Bicakcic (knee), Dabbur (personal reasons), Gacinovic (suspended), Geiger (hamstring), Hübner (ankle), Nordtveit (foot), Richards (thigh), Stafylidis (shoulder)
Coach: Sebastian Hoeneß

Hertha: Schwolow - Pekarik, Stark (M. Dardai 64'), Boyata, Plattenhardt - Darida, Khedira (c) (Dirkner 75') - Leckie (Redan 59'), Löwen (Ascacibar HT), Radonjic - Ngankam (Lukebakio HT)
Unused subs: Loftka, Klünter, Werthmüller, Zeefuik
Out: Cordoba (ankle), Cunha (ankle), Guendouzi (foot), Jarstein (match fitness), Mittelstädt (concussion), Netz (foot), Piatek (ankle), Torunarigha (suspended)
Coach: Pal Dardai