Hoffenheim kept alive their hopes of a third-place finish with a resounding 5-3 win against Werder Bremen at the Weser Stadium on Matchday 33.
Werder Bremen 3-5 Hoffenheim
Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann made a bold call, dropping Sandro Wagner for the first time this season. Within seven minutes, however, the young coach's call had been vindicated: Wagner's replacement Adam Szalai latched onto Andrej Kramaric's pass to give the visitors an early lead. Four minutes later, the Hungarian turned provider, finding Kramaric on the left, who jinked into the box and finished calmly. Nagelsmann's troops remained in control, and after Serge Gnabry spurned Bremen's only first-half chance, Steven Zuber cut in again from the left and increased the visitors' lead minutes before the break.
The visitors were quickest out of the blocks in the second half, too: in a carbon copy of his earlier strike, Kramaric picked up the ball wide on the left, cut inside, and rifled his effort past Felix Wiedwald at the near post. Ermin Bicakcic added another from a Kerem Demirbay corner soon after, although the visitors cut the deficit when Theodor Gebre Selassie headed home on the hour-mark. Werder pushed for another consolation but Philipp Bargfrede's and Robert Bauer's late goals proved too little, too late to alter the complexion of the encounter.
Man of the match
Kramaric was his usual electric self all afternoon. His jinking run through midfield led to Szalai's opener, while the Croatian finished beautifully for Hoffenheim's second and fourth goals.
Despite the resounding nature of this win, Borussia Dortmund's draw at Augsburg means that Hoffenheim need either to better Dortmund's result on the final day, or require a five-goal swing in order to finish third in the final automatic UEFA Champions League place.
- Szalai (40 goals) is now the top-scoring Hungarian in Bundesliga history.The last time Hoffenheim scored three times before the interval was in December 2014, in a 5-0 win at Hertha Berlin.Kramaric has scored 12 of his 15 goals this season in 2017.Bicakcic scored his first Bundesliga goal since February 2015.
Bremen: Wiedwald - Bauer, Sane, Veljkovic, Gebre Selassie - Eggestein (Garcia, 54'), Delaney (Kainz, 75'), Junuzovic (c) - Gnabry (Bargfrede, 54'), Kruse, Bartels
Coach: Alexander Nouri
Hoffenheim: Baumann - Bicakcic, Vogt, Süle (Toljan, 60') - Kaderabek, Rudy (c), Demirbay, Zuber - Kramaric, Uth (Amiri, 63'), Szalai (Wagner, 69')
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Watch: Andrej Kramaric on Hoffenheim's eight-goal thriller in Bremen
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