4-2 defeat denies TSG European berth

TSG Hoffenheim finished the Bundesliga campaign in ninth and missed out on the Europa League after losing 4-2 (0-2) away to 1. FSV Mainz 05 on the final day of the season. The Kraichgau club threw away a two-goal lead in Julian Nagelsmann's final game, having been reduced to 10 men when Christoph Baumgartner was sent off four minutes before the interval.

Personnel & tactics:

Head coach Julian Nagelsmann made three changes to the starting XI that was beaten 1-0 by Werder Bremen last time out. The back four in front of shot-stopper Oliver Baumann consisted of Nico Schulz, who returned after recovering from knee problems. He replaced Joshua Brenet, who moved over to the right flank in place of the ill Pavel Kaderabek. Captain Kevin Vogt and Ermin Bicakcic formed the central defensive partnership. Midfielders Florian Grillitsch and Kerem Demirbay were joined for the first time by Christoph Baumgartner, who played the no. 8 role alongside Andrej Kramaric. Ishak Belfodil was joined in attack by Brazil forward Joelinton, who replaced former Mainz man Adam Szalai.

Nagelsmann had to make his first change on 32 minutes, with injury forcing off Belfodil and Szalai coming on to make his 100th Bundesliga appearance in a TSG shirt. The visitors were reduced to 10 men when Christoph Baumgartner was shown a second yellow card for repeated foul play nine minutes later. 

Hoffenheim then switched to a 4-4-1 formation with Szalai as the lone frontman. Once Mainz had halved the deficit from the spot in the second half, Nagelsmann withdrew Joelinton and brought on Lukas Rupp, who was making his first league appearance since tearing his cruciate ligament in May 2018.

Once Mainz had equalised at 2-2, Nagelsmann brought on Reiss Nelson for Brenet (85). Ten-man Hoffenheim threw everything forward, only for the 05ers to score twice in the 90th and 94th minutes.

Moment of the match:

The 42nd minute: on his first Bundesliga start, Christoph Baumgartner received an early booking for a foul and was subsequently sent off by referee Deniz Aytekin after committing a second foul on Mainz shot-stopper Robin Zentner. Having been reduced to 10 men, Hoffenheim were unable to withstand the mounting pressure from the home side.

Number of the game: 33

Andrej Kramaric scored his 17th goal of the season from a free-kick. It was the 50th goal that TSG Hoffenheim's record goalscorer has netted in the top flight. The Croat and Ishak Belfodil, who had earlier scored his 16th goal of the campaign, have scored 33 goals between them this term. That tally makes them the most successful strike partnership in TSG history – ahead of Vedad Ibisevic and Demba Ba, who notched a combined 32 goals (18/14) in the 2008/09 season.

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