Two Billa penalties keep the dream alive

The TSG Hoffenheim women's team have done their homework and ensured that the race for qualification from UEFA Women's Champions League Group C will go down to the final day thanks to a 2-1 (2-1) win at Danish champions HB Køge. Nicola Billa scored both goals from the spot. Arsenal's subsequent 4-0 defeat to Barcelona means the Hoffenheim ladies now theoretically have the opportunity to reach the knockout phase of the competition if they can register a big home victory against the English side at the Dietmar-Hopp-Stadion on 15 December. But they will need to win by at least five goals. There's always hope.

Tactics & personnel:

"We want to soak it all up once more," declared head coach Gabor Gallai in the run-up to probably the last away trip of this UEFA Women's Champions League campaign. The TSG Hoffenheim ladies went away to Danish league leaders HB Køge, whom they had beaten 5-0 in the reverse fixture, aiming to pick up their second win of the group stages, which would allow them to return home with a glimmer of hope that they could still make the quarter-finals – provided that Barcelona won in London. Gallai made only one change to the team that started the 7-1 league victory against Bremen for the game against the Danes, who went into the game bottom of the group and without a point in Europe's elite club competition. Tine De Caigny replaced Franziska Harsch and partnered Nicola Billa in attack in a 4-4-2 formation. Jule Brand played in attacking midfield, with three defensive midfielders behind her in Fabienne Dongus, Jana Feldkamp and Chantal Hagel. Goalkeeper Martina Tufekovic was protected by a back four of Katharina Naschenweng, Michaela Specht, Luana Bühler and Laura Wienroither. 

Match highlights

5. Min.

At an ice-cold Køge Idrætspark, the early signs suggest that patience could be in order today. With a crowd of 918 spectators watching on, the Danish champions and league leaders are playing with a back five (5-4-1) and are leaving Gallai's charges a puzzle to solve in the opening stages.

8. Min.

Køge's match-plan is becoming clear: stay compact at the back and make quick forays forward. The first comes when Emma Færge breaks down the right and picks out the unmarked Cecilie Fløe in the middle, but her effort from seven metres is turned behind for a corner by Martina Tufeković.

9. Min.

Færge delivers a corner-kick but Kelly Fitzgerald at the back post cannot connect with the ball.

9. Min.

Goal for Køge!
Seconds later, it looks as if coach Søren Randa-Boldt's idea is working. After a loss of possession in midfield, Fitzgerald plays the ball forward to Kyra Carusa, who beats Tufeković with a clean low shot into the bottom left corner of the goal. It is the first time Køge have taken the lead in this Champions League campaign.

11. Min.

TSG still cannot break through the Danish wall. Fabienne Dongus has the first shot from long range but it does not threaten the opposition goal.

14. Min.

The excellent Jule Brand is a driving force in attack and creates the first notable chance for TSG with a lovely pass, but Tine de Caigny's attempt from a tight angle is kept out by Køge shot-stopper Kaylan Marckese. A first sign of life!

24. Min.

Brand is again the instigator of chaos. She brings down a good pass from Katharina Naschenweng on the penalty spot, but her shot on the turn flies narrowly wide of the goal. The Kraichgau ladies' dominance is clearly illustrated by the possession statistics: 77% vs 23% by this stage.

27. Min.

Isabella Obaze slides across the hybrid turf and into Jule Brand, bringing her down in the penalty area. There are no appeals as referee Eleni Antoniou immediately points to the spot. Nicola Billa steps up and remains unperturbed by Marckese's distraction tactics – 1-1.

33. Min.

Køge still look dangerous. Sarah Jankovska has a go from 20 metres and the ball bounces up awkwardly – but Tufeković deals with it comfortably.

38. Min.

Another penalty! Dream pass from Jule Brand, who quickly drives through midfield and plays the ball to Chantal Hagel. Marckese gets there too late and again there are barely any appeals. Nicola Billa this time goes for the right corner. 2-1 – and Hoffenheim deservedly lead at the break.

49. Min.

TSG emerge from their half-time team talk in a different formation and are now going in search of a third goal in a more attack-minded 3-5-2 system. Naschenweng's cross from the left goes beyond Marckese and comes back off the inside of the upright. The ball falls to Billa, but she cannot get a shot away.

56. Min.

Jule Brand has a go with a cheeky lob from more than 30 metres out but it flies over the goal.

61. Min.

The Hoffenheim ladies, clad in white, are clearly dominating proceedings but the all-important third goal won't come. Luana Bühler's header from a Naschenweng corner is saved by Marckese.

79. Min.

The energy levels are dropping slightly in the closing stages, and Køge sense a chance. Færge's cross from the right goes nowhere, then Carusa goes down after contact with substitute Gia Corley. But the referee says no foul!

83. Min.

Køge smell a goal. Færge again crosses the ball from the right flank into the six-yard box. Carusa slides in but misses by centimetres. Deep breath!

90 + 1. Min.

Two minutes of stoppage time are indicated. Hoffenheim are now in game management mode and are trying to see out the win. Carusa again shoots from a centre-right position but it causes no problem for Martina Tufeković.

90 + 3. Min.

Final whistle! The second Champions League group victory is in the bag. All eyes will now turn to London, where Barcelona are currently leading 2-0...

Match facts and statistics »

Download Now!
Print Page to top