The final whistle seemed to be a blank. In a european league match that neither team wanted to lose, fubball bundesliga team TSG hoffenheim won the group and can already look forward to its international continuation in 2021.
For the team of coach sebastian hoeneb, a 0-0 draw at red star belgrade was enough to secure first place ahead of the serbians after four wins at the start of the season. Belgrade is also qualified for the intermediate round, which starts in february of the next year, because of the draw in front of corona’s empty stands.
"This is something historic. We’re all glad we made it," said goalkeeper oliver baumann. Hoffenheim will win over in europe for the first time. Midfielder sebastian rudy had not observed any non-attacking pact in the stadium rajko mitic: "we wanted to win and tried to do so."
The final group match against KAA gent on 10. December can coach hoeneb use this to spare his players in turbulent weeks. In addition to the european competition, four league matches and one cup match are scheduled between now and christmas.
The main spectacle of the start phase was provided by the fans of the hosts, who sent a colorful and loud fireworks display into the sky of the serbian capital outside the stadium before kick-off. On the pitch, both clubs initially adapted to the modest weather conditions with three degrees and rain: misplaced passes dominated the first 20 minutes, belgrade acted surprisingly defensively and wait-and-see in view of the starting position.
Hoffenheim’s hoeneb has been relying on different lineups in bundesliga and europa league for weeks now. Compared to last sunday’s 1-1 draw in mainz, uli hoeneb’s nephew brought nine new players into the starting eleven this time around. 18-year-old marco john made his debut and played decently.
Even without world cup runner-up andrej kramaric and other regular players, hoffenheim set the roughest offensive impulses. Especially striker munas dabbur came to the end again and again, a spectacular drop-goal puller (17.) went clearly over the goal. When dabbur later (37.) had the lead on the fub, the home keeper milan borjan reacted brilliantly and deflected the massive finish for a corner.
At the break, dabbur was unexpectedly forced off and replaced by kramaric. The game shares did not change much. TSG combined and scored goals, while belgrade waited and was conspicuous for tactical fouls and hard play in the midfield. Robert skov (78.) again tested the strong borjan with his left, but the latter again excelled, before the nil number was finished.