Sinsheim (dpa) – 18-year-old doubles scorer Maximilian Beier almost smiled ashamed as he left the field. TSG Hoffenheim used the last group match in the Europa League for a talent show and is now looking forward to the draw for the first knockout stage on Monday.

Sports director Alexander Rosen and coach Sebastian Hoeneß were visibly proud of the team on Thursday evening after the 4: 1 (2: 0) against KAA Gent.

“That was really a game that I really enjoyed: intense against the ball, creative with the ball. Lots of football fun – that’s what they broadcast”, Hoeneß said of his greatly rejuvenated team.

Rosen didn’t forget to mention that there were six players from their own academy on the field: “That’s a great sign.” It was already clear to the table that the former village club will winter in the European Cup for the first time. The Bundesliga team remained unbeaten in the sixth preliminary round game and recorded their fifth victory against the weak Belgians.

“Maxi” Beier (21. Minute / 49.), born in Brandenburg an der Havel, later in the youth of Energie Cottbus and since 2018 in Kraichgau, scored his first two professional goals. Robert Skov (26th) and substitute Andrej Kramaric (64th) also met. “We had ten changes from the previous game and then we deliver something like that,” said Rosen appreciative. The team wanted to take the game seriously, “the boys showed that from the first minute”.

Beier recommended himself as an alternative in TSG’s already multi-faceted attack. “He has now shown himself, stretched out his arm and said figuratively: here I am!”, Praises Hoeneß. Behind Beier on the left wing, Marco John also impressed – without any Bundesliga experience – in an unusual position. “Marco is welcome to continue like this,” said the head trainer of the home-grown ones from the region.

Significantly, U21 player Dennis Geiger was also the captain in Sinsheim that night when he was only 22. Philipp Pentke loudly conducted the guest team from behind: the goalkeeper made his European Cup debut as the representative of Oliver Baumann at the age of 35. “You could see the morale and character of the team,” said the goalkeeper.

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