Relief and a special milestone

It is not yet mathematically certain, but even the biggest pessimists probably no longer have any doubts about TSG Hoffenheim staying up. After TSG's 4-2 win over Union Berlin, they hold a three-point lead over the relegation play-off place and have a +26 superior goal difference.

The PreZero Arena exploded into life after Munas Dabbur scored to make it 4-2. The entire team – including the substitutes and the coaching staff – ran over to join the goalscorer by the corner flag and even some of the spectators stormed onto the pitch after the final whistle. The results elsewhere made the situation clear: TSG Hoffenheim can now only be relegated in theory. In order to drop down into the relegation play-off place on the final matchday, Pellegrino Matarazzo's charges would need to throw away their three-point and 26-goal lead.

The sense of relief within the club had already been clear to see when Andrej Kramarić increased the advantage to 3-1. After netting his 100th Bundesliga goal, the Croat pulled off his shirt and passionately celebrated beating the drop. But the attacker knows that there can be no repeat of this season: "I also want to build on the performance in Stuttgart and show this mentality and this character. We're going to need it next season too."

Director of football Alexander Rosen is of the same opinion: "With the team that we have, we as TSG Hoffenheim should not be delighted about the fact we have secured our place in the division on Matchday 33. But it is a special feat to have come out of this situation once again, to have stuck together and to have then shown our quality on the pitch. I'm proud of the team for that."

After making a successful start and sitting in fourth place after 10 matchdays, TSG went 14 matches without a win and dropped down into last place. But Hoffenheim's tally of 16 points from the last nine matches means they have saved themselves and can now plan for the 2023/24 season in the Bundesliga. Before switching focus to next term, however, they have one more Bundesliga game to play: away to VfB Stuttgart. The aim will then be to dispel the final mathematical doubts and crown the season with a victory. Or to put it in Grischa Prömel's words: "The match carries great significance for our fans. We want to win the match and finish on a good note."

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