1899 defeated by Sandhausen

1899 Hoffenheim have lost a friendly game 1:2 against third division outfit SV Sandhausen. The story of the game was the home side's huge inability to convert their many goal-scoring chances, particularly in the first half.

The match took place on Tuesday afternoon at the Dietmar-Hopp-Stadion, with new manager Pavel Dotchew taking charge of his Sandhausen players. Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick mentioned prior to the match that it was a great opportunity for his players to accumilate some much-needed match practice. Accordingly, the blue and white's fielded a perhaps rather unfamiliar starting eleven, with Gulde, Vestergaart, Ibertsberger and Eichner making up the back line. Rudy, Thomalla and Kaiser were patrolling the midfield, with Sigurdsson, Tagoe and Vukcevic completing an attack-minded 4-3-3 formation.

The game was merely a minute old when Sigurdsson had a golden chance to break the deadlock; Prince Tagoe played a ball through to the Icelander, who, in space, unfortunately failed to meet it correctly and the chance was gone. The Icelander, just moments later, displayed more of his qualities, linking up well once again with Tagoe before working the goalkeeper Löhe who parried the ball behind for a corner (5.). From the resulting corner, Vestergaard rose highest, but his header smashed against the crossbar (6.). Hoffenheim were rampant, and created chance after chance, most notably new-signing Sebastian Rudy's long-range effort which took a lick of paint off the crossbar. The opponent's manager Pavel Dotchew won't have been overly satisfied with his team's showing in the opening stages of the game.

His side afforded far too much time and space to their Hoffenheim counterparts, yet the home side were unable to put the ball in the back of the net. Unbelievably, it was SV who took the lead. Daniel Haas in the 1899 goal, despite parrying well an initial effort on goal, was helpless to stop the rebounded effort from Frank Lönning (15.). 0-1 to the away team, but Hoffenheim heads remained high. Indeed just five minutes later parity was restored - Gylfi Sigurdsson with a deserved goal to level proceedings (20.). Just 180 seconds later and it could so easliy have been 2:1 to Hoffenheim, but neither Pringe Tagoe or Boris Vukcevic were able to convert when one-on-one with Frederic Löhe in goal (31.).
This spurred the opposition on, and they started making inroads into the Hoffenheim half of the field - and with great success. In the 35th minute they added to their goal, the lethal Lönning powering the ball past Daniel Haas (35.) following nice play from Zinnow. Before the break the away side created further chances, but their final ball often let them down, and Hoffenheim were let off the hook. Sigurdsson had the final effort of the half, but his shot ended up just wide of the post (44.).

Hoffenheim made no changes at half time, Ralf Rangnick obviously wanting his starting eleven to work their way out of the trouble they had found themselves in. But the rhythm they had in the opening stages of the game had long since deserted them. Tagoe had a glorious chance to make it 2:2 in the 70th minute, a superb lofted pass from Vukcevic found the Ghanain goalscorer, yet his shot was directed straight at the goalkeeper. After this, only sporadic attacks throughout the rest of the half ensured they were to take no glory from the game.

"It was one of the more testing friendlies we've had in recent time. If we'd have taken our chances before the break we could have been five up, yet we didn't. After the break we lost out rhythm, and it was noticeable in a number of players that their work rate had dropped", admitted head coach Ralf Rangnick.

1899 Hoffenheim - SV Sandhausen 1:2 (1:2)
1899 Hoffenheim: Haas - Ibertsberger, Vestergaard, Gulde (65. Neupert), Eichner (76. Szarka) - Rudy, Thomalla (65. Ludwig), Kaiser (65. Ammann) - Sigurdsson (76. Hemlein), Tagoe, Vukcevic.
Goals: 0:1 Lönning (15.), 1:1 Sigurdsson (20.), 1:2 Lönning (35.). Attendance: 1000. Referee: Marco Fritz (Korb). Cards:-.


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