Ihlas Bebou, Ermin Bicakcic and Pavel Kaderabek get Hoffenheim up and running with win over Werder Bremen
Summer signing Ihlas Bebou was among the scorers as Hoffenheim edged a five-goal encounter against ten-man Werder Bremen to record their first win of the season on Bundesliga Matchday 2.
Hoffenheim 3-2 Bremen
Goals: 0-1 Füllkrug (42'), 1-1 Bicakcic (54'), 2-1 Bebou (59'), 2-2 Osako (81'), 3-2 Kaderabek (87')
Red card: J. Eggestein (77')
Hoffenheim were the first to get their foot on the ball and settle, although gaps were proving hard to come by. Ömer Toprak confidently dealt with the first moment of danger inside the Bremen area, but his afternoon ended as early as the 17th minute when a calf injury forced him to raise the white flag. Niklas Füllkrug provided Bremen's first attempt on goal, but the fact that came from a corner in the 38th minute merely confirmed how tense and tight the first half in Sinsheim had been. It was also a lesson which Hoffenheim did not heed, as another corner led to the very same Füllkrug powering a header past Oliver Baumann to give the guests a half-time advantage.
In almost a carbon copy of Bremen's goal, Hoffenheim levelled early in the second half with Ermin Bicakcic rising to head Dennis Geiger's corner home. The hosts took confidence from their equaliser and they soon took the lead, Bebou pouncing on a loose ball inside the area and sending a venomous strike into the top right-hand corner from close range, completing a five-minute turnaround. Bremen hit back with Füllkrug finding the back of the net again, although VAR intervened and spotted a handball by the Bremen forward, with the goal duly ruled out. Their hopes of salvaging a point sustained further damage when Johannes Eggestein picked up a second yellow card, before Yuya Osako placed a low shot from the edge of the area into the bottom right-hand corner to open his account for the season and level matters. On a day of corners and headers, however, that very same combination led to Pavel Kaderabek nodding a late winner for Hoffenheim, who got their first points of the season at the expense of the still point-less Bremen.
- Hoffenheim scored two goals from corners in a single Bundesliga fixture for the first time.
- Füllkrug's last Bundesliga goal also came against Hoffenheim – a penalty in Hannover's 3-1 defeat on 25 September 2018. He marked his first Bundesliga start for Werder since November 2012 with a goal
- Bicakcic's five Bundesliga goals have all come from set-pieces, four being headers.
- Bebou scored with his first shot as a Hoffenheim player; nine of his 10 Bundesliga goals have come in home games.
- Osako's goal was his first in 2019.
- Bremen continue their trend of making a slow start in the league: in five of the past six seasons, they have failed to win either of their opening two matches. The exception was 2018/19, when they snatched a late victory in Frankfurt on Matchday 2.
Hoffenheim: Baumann – Posch, Vogt (c), Bicakcic – Kaderabek, Geiger (Bittencourt 88'), Rudy, Stafylidis – Skov (Grillitsch 69'), Bebou, Baumgartner (Belfodil 62')
Unused subs: Pentke, Nordtveit, Rupp, Samessekou, Adamyan, Apoguma
Out: Hübner (neck), Kramaric (knee), Ochs (ankle), Zuber (foot)
Coach: Alfred Schreuder
Bremen: Pavlenka – Gebre Selassie, Toprak (Möhwald 17'), Moisander (c), Friedl – M. Eggestein, Sahin, Klaassen – Osako (Harnik 86') – J. Eggestein, Füllkrug
Unused subs: Kapino, Pizarro, Sargent, Straudl, Groß
Out: Augustinsson (knee), Bargfrede (knee), Bartels (knee), Langkamp (calf), Rashica (groin), Veljkovic (broken toe)
Coach: Florian Kohfeldt
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