An energetic and well-drilled Hoffenheim side shocked the treble-winners Bayern Munich 4-1 to end their run of twenty-three consecutive victories this year and inflict their first defeat since December 2019, as their new manager Sebastian Hoeness came back to haunt his previous employers and uncle Uli.

Although Andrej Kramaric stole the headlines, it was centre-back Ermin Bicakcic who opened the scoring for the home side, with a darting header into the bottom corner from a corner-kick. Bayern’s Alphonso Davies attempted to head it clear off the line but the sheer power of the shot meant that the ball simply ricocheted off his head and further into the back of the net to make it 1-0.

Champions League
Bayern dominate Atlético to open Champions League defence with comprehensive win
21/10/2020 AT 19:58

However, Hoffenheim continued to win the ball in midfield with a relentless, high pressing game and exploit their high defensive line with early defence-splitting passes from deep to their trio of onrushing attackers. One such pass lead to their second goal around the 24th-minute mark when Munas Dabbur was sent through on goal and produced a beautifully delicate chip over Neuer to score.

The visitors pulled one back around ten minutes later with Joshua Kimmich curling a shot into the top right corner after a well-worked passing move, with the referee dismissing calls for the goal to be disallowed due to an injury in the build-up.

After the break, the hosts, who were playing in front of about 6,000 socially-distanced home fans due to the German Football League ruling that stadiums can have fans up to 20% of their capacity, continued their momentum. Kramaric got their third goal in the 77th minute with a well-guided finish despite Flick making two sets of double substitutions not long before that saw star players such as Lewandowski and Goretzka enter the game.

Ironically, it was a Hoffenheim sub, the Togolese international Ihlas Bebou who had the biggest impact, setting up Kramaric’s first before a mazy run from him drew a foul from Neuer and allowed Kramaric to step up for an injury-time spot-kick. The Croatian duly smashed it home and rounded off an incredible performance to make it two wins from two for Hoffenheim.

TALKING POINT

Were Bayern completely outclassed? Or was their defeat purely down to tiredness?: Although Bayern have had a lot of fixture congestion and barely had a pre-season due to finishing their season so late because of Champions League, you would still expect them to have the depth in quality to beat Hoffenheim and although the likes of Goretzka and Lewandowski were big misses in the starting XI, the players that filled in for them are no slouches.

For example, Zirkzee scored and assisted on his first Bundesliga start while playing against Hoffenheim last season, Boateng has tonnes of experience in defence and both Davies and Tolisso tend to start lots of games anyway.

During the game, Hansi Flick struggled to adapt his tactics effectively, with the away side not really offering any different after the half-time break and perhaps he was guilty of being complacent or over-trusting in certain players instead of changing how his team were set-up. Zirkzee seemed quite isolated up front, while much of the midfield and attack looked tired and devoid of innovation in addition to the high defensive line being continually beaten.

Perhaps this performance was just a blip, but it has certainly given Flick a lot to think about nonetheless.

Barca reject €150m bid for Ansu Fati - Euro Papers

MAN OF THE MATCH

Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim): Who else but him? The Croatian striker has now starred two weeks in a row, after being the match winner in Hoffenheim's opening game against FC Koln.

Although he did miss a fair few chances, he still scored two goals and created so many opportunities both for himself and others, with him still looking full of energy even in the closing minutes of the game.

The fluidity and dynamism in Hoffenheim's front three meant that he was making runs in all parts of the pitch, sometimes bringing the ball wide and playing it inside or other times sprinting through the middle directly at goal, while his pressing forced the Bayern defence into making errors.

Special mention goes to Diadie Samassékou who bossed their midfield, making plenty of tackles, interceptions in addition to instigating some moves with his passing, but you cannot ignore Kramaric's talismanic contribution today.

PLAYER RATINGS

Hoffenheim: Baumann 7, Posch 7, Vogt 7, Bicakcic 8, Akpoguma 7, Kaderabek 7, Samassekou 8, Geiger 7, Baumgartner 6, Dabbur 8, Kramaric 9... Subs: Skov 7, Bebou 8, Gacinovic 6, Grillitsch 6

Bayern Munich: Neuer 5, Alaba 5, Boateng 5, Pavard 6, Davies 5, Kimmich 7, Tolisso 6, Gnabry 5, Sane 5, Muller 7, Zirkzee 5... Subs: Goretzka 6, Lewandowski 5, Musiala 7, Coman 5

KEY MOMENTS

15' - GOOAAAAALLLLLL!!! Oh my word. Fantastic corner from Hoffenheim into a very crowded 6-yard box and Bicakcic darts a header into the bottom corner! Hoffenheim 1-0 up now and in dreamland. Valiant attempt from Davies to head the ball off the goal line, but the sheer pace on that header made it a near impossibility to do so and the ball ricocheted off his head into the roof of the net.

24' - GOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL!!! What is going on?! This is crazy, but what a game we have on our hands now. Munas Dabbur is sent through on goal by a Bayern defensive error and the Israeli international striker finishes in style with a delicate chip over Manuel Neuer! There was a quick VAR check for offside and any other discrepancies that caused a few nerves, but the goal is allowed and Hoffenheim are now two goals up.

35' - GOOOOAAAAALLLLLL!!! This game just keeps getting better and better. Great passing from Bayern in a move that was instigated by a deep cross from Sane. Headed down from inside the box and passed outwards to Joshua Kimmich, who opens his account for this season with a curled effort into the top right corner! Bayern pull a goal back and it's game on.

77' - GOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL!!! Flick's plethora of changes conjure up very little effect as super-sub Bebou comes storming down the right and dinks the ball into Kramaric, who takes one touch before guiding the ball into the corner and past Neuer!

90' - IT'S BEBOU AGAIN!!! Amazing, mazy run from him to beat multiple defenders before getting tripped on the edge of the area by the onrushing Neuer, who receives a yellow card for his troubles.

90+1' - GOOOOAAAAAALLLLL!!! The main man, Kramaric, steps up and smashes it home to make it 4 for Hoffenheim! Yes, you read that right! Brings his Bundesliga tally up to 5 goals already this season, after only two games.

KEY STAT

Champions League
Lewandowski and Suarez are the perfect embodiment of their teams, who will come out on top?
21/10/2020 AT 08:46
Champions League
Gnabry tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of Atletico game
20/10/2020 AT 20:12