Andrej Kramaric and Sebastian Rudy were on the scoresheet as Hoffenheim returned to winning ways with a 2-0 triumph at home to Hertha Berlin in the Matchday 10 curtain-raiser on Friday.
Hertha were the form side at kick-off, having won their previous two league outings, and three of their last five, but it was Hoffenheim – thumped 4-0 by Bayern Munich last week - who carved out the first chance of the match when Angelo Stiller fired wide from the edge of the box following a flowing team move. Oliver Baumann had to be alert seconds later as Hertha provided an instant riposte, and he got down well to his right to deny Marco Richter on the counter. The hosts looked the more dangerous of the two going forward, though, and deservedly took the lead on 19 minutes when Kramaric stroked home following a clever dummy by Ihlas Bebou. Robert Skov then had a powerful header well saved by Alexander Schwolow, and Stiller floated a shot onto the roof of the net before Rudy doubled his side’s lead, producing a controlled effort on the rebound from 12 yards after Skov had hit the post.
Hertha coach Pal Dardai introduced Stevan Jovetic and Myziane Maolida at the start of the second half as he looked to jolt his side into a response, but Hoffenheim continued to pose far greater a threat going forward. Bebou fired over with the first shot of the half and Kramaric had an attempt saved from a tight angle as the hosts controlled proceedings, denying their guests even a single shot on goal in the second 45 minutes - Maolida's disallowed goal following a free-kick the only noteworthy attack from the guests. Matters went from bad to worse for Hertha in the final quarter of an hour when Dedryck Boyata was sent off for a late tackle on Stiller, allowing Sebastian Hoeneß's side to shift down a gear and ease to their fourth Bundesliga win of the season.
- Kramaric has had a hand in eight of Hoffenheim’s 19 goals this Bundesliga season.
- The Croatian has scored two of his last three Bundesliga goals against Hertha.
- Rudy's goal was his second of 2021/22 - the midfielder has never had as many at this stage of a campaign. Only once has he scored more in a single season (four in 2014/15).
- Boyata received the second red card of his career. The first came against Eintracht Frankfurt on 13 June 2020.
- Hertha had taken at least two shots per half in each game this season; here they failed to muster a single effort in the second period.
- Hertha coach Pal Dardai has only picked up a single point from seven trips to Hoffenheim (one draw, six defeats).
Hoffenheim: Baumann (c) - Posch, Grillitsch, Vogt - Akpoguma, Stiller (Baumgartner 77'), Geiger (Richards 84'), Skov - Rudy (Samassekou 66') - Bebou (Rutter 66'), Kramaric (Bruun Larsen 84')
Unused subs: Pentke, Nordtveit, Gacinovic, Dabbur
Out: Bicakcic (knee), Hübner (back), John (shoulder), Kaderabek (ankle)
Coach: Sebastian Hoeneß
Hertha: Schwolow - Zeefuik (Jovetic 46'), Boyata (c), Stark, Pekarik - Ascacibar, Serdar - Richter (Ekkelenkamp 69'), Darida (Maolida 46', Tousart 77'), Mittelstädt - Piatek (Belfodil 61')
Unused subs: Christensen, Röcker, Boateng, Selke
Out: Klünter (shoulder), Torunarigha (thigh)
Coach: Pal Dardai