Bitter defeat in Berlin
Personnel & tactics:
Head coach Sebastian Hoeness made three changes to the starting XI that drew 1-1 with FC Bayern Munich. Florian Grillitsch and Pavel Kadeřábek, who had both tested positive for COVID-19, and the suspended Diadie Samassékou were replaced by Kevin Akpoguma, Jacob Bruun Larsen and Dennis Geiger. Akpoguma played alongside Kevin Vogt and Stefan Posch in a back three protecting goalkeeper Oliver Baumann. Bruun Larsen played on the right flank, with David Raum on the left wing. Geiger partnered Angelo Stiller in central midfield, with Christoph Baumgartner in a more advanced role behind the forward duo of Andrej Kramarić and Georginio.
Within a few minutes, TSG had switched to a back four. Bruun Larsen moved further up the pitch, with Posch now playing on the right of defence. TSG made their first change in the 62nd minute, with Munas Dabbur replacing Geiger and Kramarić dropping back into midfield. Two players then made their Bundesliga debuts 15 minutes later: Tom Bischof and Justin Che came on for Georginio and Akpoguma (77). Shortly before the final whistle, Raum and Baumgartner made way for Marco John and Håvard Nordtveit (88).
Moment of the match:
The 77th minute: Justin Che and Tom Bischof both came on as substitutes to make their Bundesliga debuts. Bischof even became TSG's youngest-ever player in the German top flight. The two youngsters are the 150th and 151st players in the club's Bundesliga history.
Number of the game: 3
The three goals were conceded from set-piece situations. Niklas Stark's opener (39), Ishak Belfodil's goal to double the advantage (63) and Lucas Tousart's goal for 3-0 (74) all came from free-kicks.
Hertha BSC: Schwolow – Pekarik, Boyata, Kempf, Plattenhardt – Ascacibar (Gechter, 90), Stark, Tousart (Dardai, 90) – Richter (Kade, 81), Serdar (Mittelstädt, 68) – Belfodil (Selke, 81)
TSG Hoffenheim: Baumann – Posch, Vogt, Akpoguma (Che, 77) – Bruun Larsen, Geiger (Dabbur, 62), Raum (John, 88) – Baumgartner (Nordtveit, 88), Stiller – Georginio (Bischof, 77), Kramarić
Goals: 1-0 Stark (39), 2-0 Belfodil (63), 3-0 Tousart (74)
Hertha's pressing leads to the first big opportunity: Bruun Larsen plays the ball into the path of Richter, whose left-footed shot sails wide of the back post.
Big chance for TSG take the lead out of nothing: Akpoguma plays a dream pass into the path of Bruun Larsen, who plucks the ball out of the air and is clean through on Schwolow but unfortunately fires over. That should've been the opener.
Plattenhardt curls a free-kick into the centre from the left. Stark is completely unmarked and heads into the net. The refereeing team initially disallow the goal for offside but subsequently reverse that decision.
Another set-piece situation: Kempf runs in at the back post and heads a free-kick back across the face of goal. Belfodil is unmarked and slots home. 2-0 to Hertha.
It's another free-kick that brings about a goal. Boyata heads the ball from the back post into the middle. Tousart doesn't connect properly with the ball but it still rolls into the net off the inside of the post.