Ghent (dpa) – Coach Sebastian Hoeneß was “proud” – goalkeeper Oliver Baumann was even “very proud”. With the 4: 1 (1: 0) in the second group match of the Europa League at KAA Gent, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim renewed their European Cup history.
The Bundesliga football team celebrated their highest win and first ever away win in their 16th match on the international stage. “We played very well at times”, Baumann praised, but was still “extremely annoyed” about the goal that ex-Heidenheimer Tim Kleindienst got in extra time.
The 30-year-old Baumann, who was last in the German national team, absolutely wanted to play from zero – and showed this in the 14th minute: he deflected a penalty kick from Roman Yaremchuk.
But then the Kraichgauer started out strong, had more than 30 shots on target in total – and also scored: Ishak Belfodil with a converted hand penalty (36th minute), the excellent Florian Grillitsch (52nd) and the pranksters Mijat Gacinovic (73rd) and Munas Dabbur (90. + 4) scored the goals. With the second victory after the 2-0 opener against Roter Stern Belgrade, the Hoffenheim team extended their lead in Group L and will now receive Slowan Liberec next Thursday. Meanwhile, the Czechs suffered a hefty 5-1 defeat in Belgrade.
“I am very happy with this clear and well-deserved victory. The boys have optimally executed the game plan”, said 38-year-old Hoeneß after the strong performance in Belgium, which was heavily shaken by the Corona crisis. The match took place in the empty Ghelamco Arena, the TSG team planned the return flight to Mannheim immediately after the match. In terms of population, Belgium, along with the Czech Republic, is one of the countries of the European Union most affected by the pandemic.
“We already have the six points. That is a good starting position. We want to continue in the group,” said Hoeneß. The Hoffenheimers are one step closer to their big goal: to hibernate for the third time in an international competition. Under coach Julian Nagelsmann, TSG was eliminated in the Europa League in 2017 and a year later in the Champions League in the preliminary round.