Leogang day 8: First real test successfully negotiated – 3:1 victory over Antalyaspor

1899 Hoffenheim have won their second friendly match in the Austrian town of Leogang. The final score was 3:1 against Turkish first division Antalyaspor, with goals from Vedad Ibisevic, Denis Thomalla and Andreas Ludwig.

It was the first real test of 1899 Hoffenheim's season preparation; one that was successfully overcome. Following a hard morning training session the players were granted the afternoon off to relax themselves ahead of the evening's game. In their spare time, co-trainer Peter Zeidler and Marco Pezzaiuoli took a few minutes to speak to the journalists that had gathered. Both expressed their positive attitude about their recent cooperation: "I was delighted that we could get Marco here. It is especially good for the club. In the short time that we've worked together we have shown that it works and functions very well. We have both come from a youth and amateur background, which is why we both knew each other before we linked up at Hoffenheim", said Zeidler. Pezzaiuoli also expressed his satisfaction with how the cooperation is going: "Our working together - along with the other members of staff - is working very well"

To close their eighth day in Leogang Ralf Rangnick's team had a game against Antalyaspor. It was considered the first real test of the team's preparations. Around 800 fans travelled to the Steinbergstation to see a game full of substitutions and with real opportunities for both sides. They had to have a bit of patience, however, as it wasn't until the thirteenth minute that an effort on goal was registered - Marvin Compper's shot blazed over the Turkish goalkeeper's crossbar. In the other half of the field Hoffenheim's man between the sticks, Daniel Haas, had to keep his concentration to keep hold of a dangerous headed effort (20.). The game's opening goal was a beauty, with Vedad Ibisevic scoring a real collector's item. Left back Christian Eichner broke down the wing and floated a delicious ball into the penalty area, which, after the defenders could only half clear, Bosnian Ibisevic leapt into the air and fired a spectacular acrobatic bicycle kick into the back of the net (28.). Antalyaspor only sporadically threatened in the Hoffenheim penalty area, and even then there wasn't too much danger. In the 36th minute Üzümcü was on hand to get his head onto the end of a free kick, but wasn't able to direct his effort goalwards. The last chance of the first half fell to Christoph Hemlein, following some quick-thinking from Sejad Salihovic to take his free kick early. After getting himself into the penalty area, though, Hemlein could only shoot directly at the goalkeeper (39.).

Rangnick made only two changes at the break, with more to follow throughout the second period - only goalkeeper Haas managing to get the full 90 minutes under his belt. Due to the changes the game's pace dropped considerably, and it wasn't until the 70th minute before the next goal went in. In the meantime Luiz Gustavo (70.), Vedad Ibisevic (72.) and Denis Thomalla (75.) all missed good opportunities to stretch their team's lead. Thomalla made no mistake just four minutes later, with a cool finished after some good Andreas Ludwig footwork. A further Hoffenheim goal followed just five minutes afterwards, and it was another delightful effort, this time from Ludwig. An Adam Jabiri cross was taken first time by the Hoffenheimer, giving the goalkeeper no chance (84.). They couldn't keep a clean sheet though, as Atalay was able to breach the Hoffenheim defence for the first time this pre-season (87.).

"We game up against a strong opponent today. They were better and more aggressive than us in the first half, but in the second half we changed things up and improved. We could have loved a clean sheet; it is frustrating to concede such a late goal", said Ralf Rangnick.

1899 Hoffenheim - Antalyaspor 3:1(1:0)
1899 Hoffenheim: Haas - Ibertsberger (60. Beck), Simunic (60. Vorsah), Compper (76. Neupert), Eichner (76. Raitala) - Kaiser (46. Luiz Gustavo), Salihovic (76. Schäfer), Hemlein (46. Ludwig) - Vukcevic (60. Carlos Eduardo), Ibisevic (76. Jabiri), Mlapa (Thomalla).
Goals: 1:0 Ibisevic (28.), 2:0 Thomalla (79.), 3:0 Ludwig (84.), 3:1 Atalay. Attendance: 800.


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