“All good things come in threes,” goes the well-known saying, which could hardly be a more fitting way to describe TSG Hoffenheim’s 2-0 win over FC Schalke 04. For the third time this season, the two clubs went head-to-head; and for the third time this season, TSG came away as victors. In addition, coach Pellegrino Matarazzo’s charges claimed their third victory in succession in the Bundesliga – a nine-point haul that gives them a bit of breathing space in the relegation battle.
The victory over Schalke 04 saw TSG move five points clear of the relegation play-off place and six points clear of 17th place. Hoffenheim’s position looked much bleaker three weeks ago, when they were down in 18th place. And yet the players, the coach and the officials know they still have a long way to go to stay up. No-one at the club is getting carried away after the recent wave of success. Pellegrino Matarazzo warned: “The triumph gives us belief for the run-in. The situation looks better than three matchdays ago, but we need to keep performing every week, otherwise we’ll be in trouble.”
Full-back Angeliño wants to build on the run in the coming weeks: “ The three wins have given us a little breathing space, but we cannot allow ourselves to kick back. We’re currently in good form; we need to build on that and carry the good mood forward.”
The wing play also proved to be the key to success against Schalke 04. TSG combined spectacularly in the Schalke penalty area to open the scoring at 1-0, with Angeliño’s cross forcing Alex Kral to turn the ball into his own net. In addition, Ihlas Bebou in particular continued to pose a threat down the right flank and created a number of gilt-edged opportunities.
TSG are focusing on their own strengths in the battle to beat the drop – an approach that has proven successful in recent weeks. It is therefore not surprising that the team believe they can come away with something tangible when they visit Munich to take on FC Bayern on Saturday.