Sandro Schwarz was forced into two changes from the team that started the draw against 1. FSV Mainz 05 due to injuries. Márton Dárdai (muscular problems) and Marc Kempf (hip problems) were both unavailable, with Agustín Rogel and Maximilian Mittelstädt replacing the two centre-backs in the Blue-White defence. Mittelstädt would play as a wing-back, with Marvin Plattenhardt slotting into the back-three. Former Hertha player John Anthony Brooks started for Hoffenheim.
Two penalties put Hoffenheim ahead at the break
TSG had the first shot at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena, with Oliver Christensen saving from fellow countryman Robert Skov (4’). The next chance also went Hoffenheim’s way after Andrej Kramarić chipped the ball over to Pavel Kadeřábek, who dragged his shot wide from close range (8’). Hertha, playing in red today, had their first shot in the eleventh minute, with Florian Niederlechner heading a Tolga Ciğerci corner over the bar. After 20 minutes, Christensen was once again called into action. A ball over the top from Kevin Vogt found Kramarić, with Christensen making a good save to keep him out. Two minutes later, referee Frank Willenborg pointed to the spot. Brooks headed the ball into Ciğerci’s outstretched arm and Kramarić converted the resulting penalty (24’). Hertha searched for an answer. Niederlechner’s shot was blocked by the Hoffenheim defence (28’) and Mittelstädt’s shot from the edge of the box, following good work from Jessic Ngankam, was pushed wide by Oliver Baumann (32’). At the other end, Willenborg gave another penalty after Ihlas Bebou went to the floor after a tangle in the box with Filip Uremović. Kramarić held his nerves once again and TSG went into the break with a 2-0 lead (37’).
Third goal conceded instead of Hertha penalty – possibly fastest-ever red card for TSG
Schwarz reacted to falling behind at half time, bringing on fresh legs up front in the shape of Stevan Jovetić and Dodi Lukébakio. The ‘Old Lady’ had the first chances of the second half. After a Lukébakio header which Baumann saved, Skov deflected the ball out of play – with it coming off his outstretched arms. Despite protestations from Hertha players, Willenborg decided not to give a penalty. Instead, the ball found it’s way in at the other end, as Bebou connected with a long ball and finished past Christensen (51’). Christensen saved from Stiller to prevent a fourth (63’). There was then an 86 second cameo from Hoffenheim’s Munas Dabbur, with the forward coming on before making a heavy challenge on Lukébakio and almost immediately receiving his marching orders. The hoped-for comeback for Hertha didn’t come, though. Baumann saved from Mittelstädt (81‘) and Lucas Tousart (87’), before Jovetić scored in additional time (90+2’). Too little too late for Hertha, and three points going to the hosts was never in danger.
TSG Hoffenheim: Baumann (C) – Akpoguma, Vogt (83′ Bičakčić), Brooks – Kadeřábek, Geiger, Stiller (83′ Delaney) , Baumgartner (69′ Dabbur), Skov (83′ Angeliño) – Bebou, Kramarić (75′ Becker)
Hertha BSC: Christensen – Rogel, Uremović, Plattenhardt (65′ Prince) – Richter (65′ Kenny), Ciğerci (46′ Jovetić), Tousart, Serdar (73′ Kanga), Plattenhardt (C) – Ngankam, Niederlechner (46′ Lukébakio)
Goals: 1-0 Kramarić (24′), 2-0 Kramarić (37′), 3-0 Bebou (51′), 3-1 Jovetić (90+2′)
Referee: Frank Willenborg
Yellow cards: Richter, Ngankam, Mittelstädt
Red cards: Dabbur