Andrej Kramaric’s two goals either side of half-time meant Hoffenheim saw off the Bundesliga’s bottom side Nuremberg and maintain their European push.
Hoffenheim 2-1 Nuremberg
Goals: 1-0 Kramaric (pen. 25’), 1-1 Behrens (61’), 2-1 Kramaric (78’)
It was a tale of two penalties in the first half at the PreZero Arena as Kramaric was originally awarded a spot-kick inside four minutes before having the decision rescinded by referee Christian Dingert after consulting with VAR in Cologne. The home side were, however, eventually given their chance from 12 yards when Patrick Erras handled in the box. Kramaric stepped up to send goalkeeper Christian Mathenia the wrong way for his 11th goal of the season. It remained one-way traffic in the first half with Julian Nagelsmann’s side pushing for a second against the Bundesliga’s bottom club. Ishak Belfodil saw an effort rebound off the post before Pavel Kaderabek, on his 100th Bundesliga appearance, failed to turn home a cross from Nico Schulz, himself playing his 50th league game for Hoffenheim, while unchallenged at the far post.
Nuremberg were forced into a second early change shortly after the restart when Enrico Valentini pulled up, allowing former Bayern Munich midfielder Timothy Tillman to come on for his professional debut. And it was the American’s side who came out with greater intent, being rewarded with an equaliser on the hour through captain Hanno Behrens after his shot crept under goalkeeper Oliver Baumann after Mikael Ishak had held the ball up inside the box. Nagelsmann reacted with offensive reinforcements, but it was Kramaric again who restored the lead with a clever flick through the legs of Mathenia and keep Hoffenheim in the European chase. Nuremberg, however, remain rooted to the bottom of the table.
- Kramaric’s 12 Bundesliga goals in 2018/19 is more than the entire Nuremberg starting XI combined (ten).
- The Croatian has converted 13 of his 14 Bundesliga penalties, scoring his last 12 in a row.
- It was Kramaric’s seventh brace or better in the German top flight, but he’s only ever done that in the second half of a season.
- There have been 11 penalties awarded in Hoffenheim matches this Bundesliga season (six for TSG, five against them) – more than any other club.
- Nuremberg are winless in their last 18 Bundesliga away games, losing each of their last seven.
- Der Club are without a win in 19 Bundesliga games, an unwanted club record.
Watch: Kramaric proud of Hoffenheim scoring record, and wants more!
Hoffenheim: Baumann - Bicakcic, Vogt (c), Posch (Szalai 69’) - Kaderabek, Amiri (Bittencourt 72’), Grillitsch, Schulz - Kramaric - Belfodil (Otto 86'), Joelinton
Unused subs: Stolz, Brenet, Hübner, Otto, Baumgartner
Out: Adams (suspended), Demirbay (match fitness), Geiger (groin)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Nuremberg: Mathenia – Valentini (Tillman 52’), Mühl, Ewerton, Leibold – Kubo (Jäger 76’), Löwen, Erras, Behrens (c), Kerk (Bauer 38’) - Ishak
Unused subs: Bredlow, Knöll, Palacios, Fuchs
Out: Goden (muscular), Lippert (knee), Margreitter (muscular), Pereira (suspended), Zrelak (cruciate ligament)
Coach: Boris Schommers