Sinsheim (dpa) – Thanks to Christoph Baumgartner and Munas Dabbur, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim celebrated a successful Europa League start, even without fans in the Sinsheim stadium.
The Bundesliga club defeated Red Star Belgrade 2-0 (0-0) in the first group match. Austrian Christoph Baumgartner (64th) and Munas Dabbur (90th + 3) scored the goals against the Serbian champion and the 1991 European Cup winners. For Kraichgauer, who started without top scorer Andrej Kramaric, it was only the second victory in their 15th international match.
“As a young boy it was always my dream to play Champions League one day. Maybe it works again. Now I’m going to score and help the team succeed in the Europa League. That was a deserved victory,” said Baumgartner’s goalscorer at Nitro. .
In the second group match, the team of coach Sebastian Hoeneß will go to KAA Gent in Belgium in a week. Another opponent in the preliminary round is FC Slovan Liberec from the Czech Republic. Hoffenheim is eager to spend the winter on the European stage after being kicked out of the group matches in their first Europa League season in 2017 and a year later in the Champions League under the leadership of head coach Julian Nagelsmann. TSG then recorded their only European Cup victory with a 3-1 win against Istanbul Basaksehir.
Hoeneß used full-back Ryan Sessegnon, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, for the first time from the start against the team of former Italian pro Dejan Stankovic. Many of TSG’s attacks in the tough game were initially aimed at national player Sebastian Rudy, who has been on the right wing since returning from FC Schalke 04. Munas Dabbur and Ishak Belfodil formed the attack without Kramaric. The Croatian number two of the World Cup, just like Kasim Adams, tested positive for the corona virus last week. Pavel Kaderabek is still in quarantine after a family affair.
Roter Stern had to do without his equally infected top striker Mirko Ivanic and fought fiercely against the key TSG from the start. For a long time, the hosts lacked brilliant ideas against the robust Belgrade inhabitants. Dabbur found a hole just before half time after a pass from Rudy, but only hit the post.
The wear without playful shine continued after the break – but also without Grillitsch. The Austrian international left the arena to be there for the birth of his child. Baumgartner then scored the opening goal at his premiere in the Europa League with a nice direct acceptance at Rudy’s instructions. Dabbur made the hosts sigh of relief in the third minute of injury time.
Belgrade coach Dejan Stankovic saw a punishable foul by Kevin Akpoguma before Baumgartner conceded a goal and was so upset that Spanish referee Alejandro Hernández showed him the yellow-red card.