Hoffe too strong for Betis: 2-1 win on fan and family day

The wait for football in Sinsheim is over. 16,000 spectators welcomed the TSG 1899 Hoffenheim players to their first match in the WIRSOL Rhein Neckar Arena ahead of the new season. Sunday afternoon saw fans celebrate a 2-1 victory over Spanish La Liga side Real Betis. Eren Derdiyok and Roberto Firmino scored the goals for the Kraichgauer team. TSG were delighted to see over 19,000 visitors overall on their fan and family day.

At 11 o'clock, TSG opened the gates to its fan-zone, full of attractions for young and old. Many visitors gathered at the WIRSOL Rhein Neckar Stadium, to spend some time at the many stalls hosted by partners and sponsors. This year, even the teasing Kraichgauer August weather held out. At 3pm, the partners and sponsors passed the baton on to the players, who carried on the entertainment inside the stadium.

The match was only four minutes in, when Tobias Weis put a chance on a plate for Eren Derdiyok in the heart of the Betis defence. The striker quickly tucked the ball under the crossbar with his first touch to give his side the lead, though that wasn't the first celebration of the afternoon. Earlier on, the Hoffe fans greeted new number one Tim Wiese with a rapturous applause. Weis smelt blood following his assist and tried his luck from distance in both the 6th and 10th minute; both times the ball flew narrowly past the goal. Hoffenheim continued to control the game and tried to find another goal, but neither a Derdiyok header nor Kevin Volland's near miss following a ball into the box from Vukcevic were able to extend the lead. There was a scare for TSG in the 33rd minute, when Derdiyok had to hobble off the pitch following a tackle. A pulled thigh muscle sidelined him for the rest of the match, and Sven Schipplock came on in his place. From then on, the Spanish side found themselves in the game more, and had two good chances to equalise before the break. First Compper cleared off the line after Wiese was beaten, and then moments later, the TSG keeper managed to save from a one on one situation.

Markus Babbel made seven changes at the interval. Casteels, Schröck, Vorsah, Gyau, Williams, Chris and Salihovic replaced Wiese, Beck, Compper, Vukcevic, Weis, Rudy and Volland. The first highlight of the second half came after Betis keeper Fabricio's blunder gifted TSG a comfortable two goal lead. Firmino wasted no effort poking the dropped ball over the line. At the other end, Casteels denied Betis a goal that would have seen them back in the game, after quick reflexes allowed him to deny a curler into the top corner. The substitutions continued on the hour mark, with the manager sending on Sassi, Thesker and Vestergaard for Firmino, Johnson and Delpierre.

TSG then turned things up another gear. Schipplock played in Salihovic with a lob, but the Bosnian failed to bring the ball under his control. Two minutes later, Williams could only meet a Gyau cross with the top of his head. In the 80th minute, Casteels rode his luck twice when substitute Castro's shot first hit the right-hand post, then the left-hand post, before the keeper was able to gather the ball on the goal line. Hoffenheim's final highlight of the match came from Ahmed Sassi; his deflected shot went centimetres wide of the goal. The Spaniards managed to pick up a consolation goal in added time, but Ruben Castro's low shot only ensured a closer final score, in a game where Betis were mostly outplayed.

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim – Real Betis Sevilla 2-1 (1-0)

1899 Hoffenheim: Wiese (46' Casteels) – Beck (46' Schröck), Delpierre (60' Vestergaard), Compper (46' Vorsah), Johnson (60' Thesker) – Vukcevic (46' Gyau), Weis (46' Williams), Rudy (46' Chris), Firmino (60' Sassi) – Volland (46' Salihovic) – Derdiyok (33' Schipplock).

Real Betis: Fabricio – Chica (65' Nacho), Amaya (80' Paulao), Super (80' Dorado), Salva – Canas (65' Nelson), Alex (65' Benat), Pozuelo (54' Vadillo), Nono (65' Ruben Perez) – Molina (75' Castro), Pereira (75' Sergio).

Goals: 1-0 Derdiyok (4'), 2-0 Firmino (52'), 2-1 Castro (90'). Attendance: 16,000. Cards: Yellow for Chris / Nono, Salva.

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