TSG 1899 Hoffenheim climbed up to a provisioanl fifth place with a 2-1 win over Baden-Württemberg rivals SC Freiburg at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena on Saturday.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 2-1 SC Freiburg
Both teams lined up with matching 3-4-3 formations, which made for an opening half-hour of midfield deadlock. Hoffenheim captain Sebastian Rudy saw a well-struck free-kick saved as the game began to open up, though, and the hosts took a 1-0 lead into the interval when Wagner picked up on a calamitous back pass from Caglar Söyüncü before round Freiburg goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow and slotting home.
Kerem Demirbay could have doubled the hosts’ lead minutes after the restart, but he took an extra touch in the Freiburg box, allowing Söyüncü to make some amends for his earlier error by deflecting the ball clear. The Turkey centre-back then launched a beautiful through-ball for substitute Florian Niederlechner to convert, but the young defender then conceded a late penalty which Kramaric stroked home to complete a 2-1 win for the hosts.
Hoffenheim were forced to dig deep against their local rivals, but thy refused to let their heads go down after the equaliser. Now fully in Julian Nagelsemann’s image, they are a radically different proposition from the side that spent 21 weeks in the relegation places last term, and European qualification could be a realistic aim for 2016/17.
- Wagner’s strike was his third in six games since his summer arrival from SV Darmstadt 98.Hoffenheim are now undefeated in seven games, equalling their club record in the Bundesliga.This was the first time in five games that the Baden-Württemberg derby has seen a winner.