For TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, the fight against relegation from the Bundesliga will be tight once again. The Table-14. lost 1-2 (0-1) at VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday and missed the great opportunity to move further away from the last three places against a harmless opponent. The previous penultimate VfL Bochum came within one point of the Hoffenheimers on this third-to-last matchday. VfB Stuttgart can do the same on Sunday.
In front of 22,617 spectators, Jakub Kaminski headed in the 15th minute to make it 1-0 for VfL. Former Hoffenheim player Luca Waldschmidt added a second goal a quarter of an hour before the end (75th). The 2-1 through an own goal by Josuha Guilavogui fell only in injury time (90.+3).
The Wolfsburgers did only the bare minimum and still took a big step towards international competition. Not only participation in the Conference League, but even in the Europa League is still possible, as Niko Kovac's team ousted Stuttgart opponents Bayer Leverkusen from sixth place for the time being.
For TSG, the afternoon had a number of annoyances in store right from the start. Instead of the Hoffenheim anthem, the SC Freiburg song was played before the game to welcome the away fans. They blew the whistle, the stadium management apologised – and put on the right song just in time for kick-off.
Dabbur gives away freely in front of goal
After the warm-up, Dennis Geiger, who was supposed to be in the starting line-up, stayed in the dressing room due to back problems. And with the first big chance of the game, the Hoffenheim supporters pulled their hair out again. Because a beautiful shot by Andrej Kramaric flew from 18 meters only to the crossbar of the Wolfsburg goal (7th).
The four victories in the previous seven games were also due to the courage of their coach Pellegrino Matarazzo. The 45-year-old is also playing very offensively in the fight against relegation by withdrawing attackers like Kramaric or Ihlas Bebou into midfield. Wolfsburg's opening goal showed that this can also be a risk: Bebou gave his opponent Kaminski as much space as he can dream of in opposing penalty areas after a cross from Ridle Baku.
TSG were suddenly behind in a game that they controlled for a long time against weak "Wolves". The second good chance of the first half was missed in the 41st minute by long-time Wolfsburg player John Anthony Brooks after a corner kick.
The 30-year-old American left VfL in 2022 after five years because he actually wanted to assert himself in the English Premier League. Now the defender has returned to his old home with TSG Hoffenheim. At Benfica, he was unable to assert himself in the first half of the season. In Hoffenheim, he is playing on loan for the time being.
If Brooks could still be credited with not expecting to get to the ball when he had a corner chance from close range, there were no extenuating circumstances for TSG striker Munas Dabbur shortly after the break. The 30-year-old Israeli took the ball off the foot of the all-too-frivolous VfL captain Maximilian Arnold near the penalty area and ran alone towards the VfL goal in a central position. Completely unpressed, however, Dabbur shot over instead of on goal (57th).
The guests never recovered from this missed opportunity. Wolfsburg took control and in the end proved exactly the efficiency that the Hoffenheimers lacked.