Hoffenheim faced a big surprise against Manchester City. Then a momentous mistake happened.
Déja-Vu: Did Pep Guardiola think about 22 August 2015 shortly after the start of the game? Back then, as coach of FC Bayern, his team was already 0-1 behind in Hoffenheim after only a few seconds. More than three years later, the same fate befell him. This time as coach of Manchester City. But perhaps he also remembered the outcome of the match back then. The Munich team won thanks to a late goal from Robert Lewandowski. History was to repeat itself.
Result: Manchester City won at 1899 Hoffenheim 2:1 (1:1). The decisive goal by David Silva was scored a few minutes before the final whistle. Click here for the match report.
Unequal duel: Many spectators had expected a much clearer result. Between the coaches of both teams, Pep Guardiola and Julian Nagelsmann, lie 16 years, 26 titles and 356 compulsory games. TSG Hoffenheim received the Premier League leaders and reigning champions in their first Champions League home game in the club’s history. The club, which currently has the second most expensive squad in the world (1.06 billion euros, source: transfermarkt.de). The contrasts could not have been bigger before the kick-off. The favourite was under pressure.
The starting position: On the first matchday of Group F, the Citizens – one of the title contenders in the premier class – surprisingly lost to Olympique Lyon (1:2). Hoffenheim, on the other hand, scored in Ukraine with Schachtar Donezk (2:2). An advantage for the TSG?
First half: It looked that way for a long time. The Nagelsmann eleven took the lead after 44 seconds. Ishak Belfodil scored his first Champions League goal after the offside trap of the visitors failed (1st minute). By the way, it was the second fastest goal for an English team in the premier class – Rome’s Stephan El Shaarawy was seven seconds faster against Chelsea a year ago. Sergio Agüero’s equaliser was followed by a pressure phase for the visitors. Thanks to a strong goalkeeper, the draw remained until the break: Oliver Baumann saved first against Raheem Sterling (15th) and later against Agüero (35th).
Sole entertainer: When Agüero moved from Atlético to Manchester City in 2011, he was a real bargain in terms of today’s transfer sums. The little Argentinian, who stands in the shadow of Lionel Messi in his home country, cost 40 million euros. Agüero’s record is impressive: he scored 207 goals across competitions and has long been the club’s most successful attacker. Second place went to Yaya Touré with 79 goals.
Worries in Hoffenheim: Julian Nagelsmann does not tend to complain. Not even about the tense personnel situation. But in the run-up to the match he admitted that there had already been “more pleasant moments”. With Kevin Vogt, Benjamin Hübner, Havard Nordtveit, Kasim Adams, Ermin Bicakcic, Dennis Geiger, Lukas Rupp and Nadiem Amiri, the TSG lacked eight potential regulars.
Second half: But even in the second half, Hoffenheimer’s players with weak substitutes held up well for a long time. City owned up to 70 percent of the ball and was looking for the gap. In the 73rd minute Silva sent the fast Leroy Sané into the penalty area. TSG goalkeeper Baumann fouled the German international, but the impartial denied him a penalty. Nevertheless, there was no happy ending.
Bad luck of the game: Nagelsmann bet on the still unknown Stefan Posch in the central defense. The 21-year-old played solidly and kept City’s strong offensive together with his defensive colleagues as well as possible away from his own goal. Up to the 87th minute: Then Posch made the decisive mistake when he put the ball after a cross with the chest accidentally into the barrel of Silva. The experienced Spaniard performed ice cold.
What happens next? Manchester City can breathe a sigh of relief. With the victory, the Guardiola eleven have now arrived in the current Champions League season. Hoffenheim, on the other hand, will have a hard time now, the point against Donezk was probably too low. In order to have a realistic chance of reaching the round of 16, TSG should get at least four points from their upcoming matches against Lyon. In playing Costa Bingo, you don’t need to deposit cash, you can play whenever you want.