Hoffenheim climb away from danger as Schalke slip to the bottom
An Alex Kral own goal and an Ihlas Bebou penalty saw Hoffenheim see off sprightly Schalke to move away from the danger zone and condemn the Royal Blues to bottom spot in the table again.
Hoffenheim 2-0 Schalke
Goals: 1-0 Kral (o.g. 22’), 2-0 Bebou (pen. 70’)
Schalke fans had claimed during the week that they were going to make this game feel like a home one for their side. It was no surprise, then, that the sold-out PreZero Arena was rocking. And they were almost treated to two goals inside the opening 90 seconds. Marius Bülter got on the end of a flicked-on cross and turned it back towards goal, only for it to kiss the top of the crossbar on the way over. Straight up the other end, the unmarked Christoph Baumgartner met a cross with his head but also nodded over. The visitors had looked livelier in the opening stages, but momentum shifted Hoffenheim’s way when Baumgartner and Angelino exchanged passes before the Spaniard crossed low, forcing Kral to put through his own net with Finn Becker lurking. The visitors hit the woodwork again with a guided header from Maya Yoshida. However, TSG were in the ascendency and pouring forward at every opportunity, mustering nine efforts to Schalke’s three in the first half, but without adding to the score.
The Royal Blues had made a tactical change at left-back in the first half, while the Sinsheimers were forced into a swap at half-time with ex-Schalke man Ozan Kabak coming on. And the Turkey international was kept busy with the visitors resuming on the front foot, but the closest they came was a Bülter effort from distance that flew over. Yet as in the first half, somewhat against the run of play, Hoffenheim doubled their advantage when Baumgartner was tripped in the box and Bebou converted a penalty – but only at the second attempt after Ralf Fährmann had saved the first, but was penalised for coming off his line too early. A third straight victory moves Hoffenheim up to 14th and five points clear of the bottom three. VfB Stuttgart’s earlier win in Bochum means Schalke drop to the foot of the table once again, but only two points away from the play-off spot.
- Baumgartner has now won a league-high three penalties this season, while Hoffenheim have also been awarded the most in the division (seven).
- Bebou took a penalty for just the second time in the Bundesliga and has converted both (previous for Hannover against Wolfsburg in November 2018).
- Oliver Baumann and Sebastian Rudy both made their 289th Bundesliga appearances for Hoffenheim – a club club. This was also Rudy’s 100th top-flight win with TSG; Baumann’s 107th.
- Hoffenheim ended a 16-game wait for a Bundesliga clean sheet, going back to their 3-0 win away at Schalke in October.
- TSG have lost just one of their last 15 competitive home games against Schalke (W9, D5).
- Schalke conceded an own goal for the first time this season. They are also still yet to win a game in which they’ve trailed this campaign (four draws, 14 defeats).
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Hoffenheim: Baumann (c) - Vogt (Kabak 46’), Brooks, Akpoguma - Kaderabek, Geiger (Rudy 64’), Becker (Stiller 90'+3), Angelino - Kramaric (Bischof 64’) - Bebou (Tohumcu 78’), Baumgartner
Unused subs: Philipp, Bicakcic, Dolberg, Nsoki
Out: Bruun Larsen (groin), Che (groin), Dabbur (suspended), Prömel (ankle), Skov (muscular)
Coach: Pellegrino Matarazzo
Schalke: Fährmann - Brunner, Yoshida (c), Matriciani, Ouwejan (Aydin 36’) - Kral, Krauß (Latza 71’) - Skarke (Topp 71’), Zalazar (Drexler 79’), Bülter - Frey (Terodde 71’)
Unused subs: Schwolow, Mohr, Balanta, Kaminski
Out: Heekeren (cruciate ligament), Jenz (muscular), Karaman (muscular), Kozuki (ankle), Polter (knee), Uronen (adductor), van den Berg (ankle)
Coach: Thomas Reis
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