The Match Facts
The 2-0 victory over Serbian record champions Red Star Belgrade was the second time TSG Hoffenheim have won a match in European competition. The only previous win – a 3-1 triumph against Istanbul Basaksehir in 2017 – also came at home in the UEFA Europa League. TSG dominated Red Star in this match, with more shots (16-8), possession (61 percent) and passes played (548-348). TSG ensured they continued their run of scoring at least once in each of their 15 European games, and Munas Dabbur netted for the 19th time in the Europa League. The visiting coach, Dejan Stankovic, had an unfortunate evening. He was first shown a yellow card following a fit of anger in the 64th minute, before being sent off by referee Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez for a second bookable offence.
By that point, Florian Grillitsch had been withdrawn from the pitch after asking coach Sebastian Hoeness to be substituted at the interval. The reason: his partner Hannah was in hospital about to give birth to their child.
The Man of the Match
From a sporting point of view, Christoph Baumgartner was the man of the match. The 21-year-old hammered Sebastian Rudy's delicate cutback into the roof of the net on the volley in the 64th minute. He was rewarded for his display with a place in UEFA's Team of the Week. But Baumgartner was surpassed by Florian Grillitsch. The midfielder asked to be substituted at half-time because his partner Hannah was in hospital about to give birth to their child. A little girl was born at 03:53 CET. Both mother and baby are doing well. A European mascot for TSG Hoffenheim!
Quote of the evening
Christoph Baumgartner: "It was always my dream as a small boy to play in European competition. I'm absolutely thrilled that I also got a goal and we won. Red Star made it very difficult for us. We didn't always get shots away, but we did deserve to win in the end. I'm receiving a lot of trust from the coaching staff and I'm trying to pay that back. I promised Florian Grillitsch at half-time I'd score a goal for him. So I'm obviously delighted I managed it."
"The first step to making history" Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung
"Dream start for Hoffenheim" Bruchsaler Rundschau
"Successful start to the Europa League" Heilbronner Stimme
"Baumgartner and Dabbur fire Hoffenheim to victory in opener" Spiegel Online
Group L at a glance
Slovan Liberic beat KAA Gent 1-0 in the other game in Group L. Bahraini forward Yusuf scored the winning goal as the Czechs kicked off their campaign with a home victory at Stadion u Nisy. Due to their superior goal difference, TSG Hoffenheim currently occupy top spot in Group L ahead of Liberec after one round of matches in the UEFA Europa League. Gent currently sit third in the group, while Red Star Belgrade occupy bottom spot.