Simunic scores a brace as Hoffenheim beat Sunderland

1899 Hoffenheim have won their final test match prior to the DFB Cup encounter with FC Hansa Rostock. Ralf Rangnick's team beat Premier League side AFC Sunderland with a convincing 3-1 victory.

Compper with solid performance
It was the first time 1899 Hoffenheim and AFC Sunderland went head to head and the weather played along, as the sun beamed over the Rhein-Neckar-Arena. But not only the good weather caused for excitement, as Hoffenheim put on a stunning display against the Premier League team. Ralf Rangnick was able to field the entire squad, with the exception of injured Matthias Jaissle and Chinedu Obasi. Rangnick fielded Marvin Compper as left back, which was a surprise to many of the visitors. Ibisevic, Ba and new signing Mlapa were the offensive trio and made life tough on Sunderland's defence.

Simunic' brace gives Hoffenheim comfortable lead
Hoffenheim seized control of the match early and were rewarded when Andreas Beck's corner kick found the head of Simunic who nodded the ball home for the 1-0 lead. His second goal in pre season. "I wasn't surprised about the two goals from Simunic after set pieces. We practiced these situations a lot and it paid off today," said Rangnick after the game. 1899 would not back down after their early lead as they continued to overpower their opponents. Ibisivic and Ba created a decent opportunity which nearly led to the second goal, but the angle wasn't favourable for Ba. Sunderland coach Steve Bruce was certainly not happy with the performance of his team, who will enter their domestic season next weekend against Birmingham City. Their offence struggled as Hoffenheim continued to destroy all kinds of game flow and hence the game was directed in purely one direction in front of 16.500 spectators. Another set piece was the origin of Hoffenheim's second goal. Eduardo passed the ball to Luiz Gustavo, who found Suminic unmarked and the defender scored his second goal (28'). Ibisevic had the chance to make it 3-0 after Compper played a wonderful pass, but the Bosnian's shot was just wide.

Same story in the second half
Rangnick made three changes at the start of the second half. Beck, Ibisevic and Carlos Eduardo left the pitch and were replaced by Ibertsberger, Weis and Vukcevic. Mlapa had the next chance for Hoffenheim, but hesitated too long and was blocked by Sunderland's keeper in the last second. Simunic came close to scoring a hattrick in the 63rd minute, but his header from short range was to weak to cause any real danger to Sunderland's keeper. Just two minutes later, Sunderland found their way back into the game. Jordan Henderson was on target from a tight angle to make it 2-1. Hoffenheim didn't take long to restore their two goal lead. Salihovic' deflected shot ended up with Mlapa who merely needed to tap the ball into the back of the net. Hoffenheim continued to have chances but in the end the game concluded with a much deserved 3-1 victory for the hosts. "For long stretches of the match, we showed a good performance, especially the in the first half. It was a successful test keeping the DFB Cup match against Rostock on the weekend in mind," said a satisfied Rangnick after the game.


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