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Matchday 17: Labbadia misses first win – Kramaric saves Hoffenheim

17th matchday
Labbadia misses first win – Kramaric saves Hoffenheim

VfB professional Wataru Endo (l) in a duel with Hoffenheim’s Sebastian Rudy. photo

© Uwe Anspach/dpa

Tough and hectic: Hoffenheim and Stuttgart are fighting each other in the relegation battle. Bruno Labbadia can hope for the premiere success – a goalscorer ends the dreams late.

Bruno Labbadia applauded towards the guest fans. However, the coach was not able to celebrate his first victory in the second game after his return to VfB Stuttgart. The Swabians drew 2-2 (1-1) at national rivals TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and only conceded the equalizer in injury time.

The battered and tough game gave the only 23,159 spectators in the Sinsheim stadium a foretaste of the relegation battle in the second half of the Bundesliga season. The Croatian World Cup third Andrej Kramaric gave the troubled TSG an early lead (11th minute) and also scored the 2-2 equalizer (90+4). Serhou Guirassy (45’+5′) and captain Wataru Endo (77′) scored for VfB. A little later, Stuttgart’s Naouirou Ahamada (78th) saw the yellow-red card.

“If you make it 2-2 at the end, that’s more of a positive. The whole game was very balanced,” said Hoffenheim’s Sebastian Rudy on Sky.

VfB away without a win

The Stuttgarters missed their first away win in over a year, most recently on December 11, 2021 they won 2-0 in Wolfsburg. André Breitenreiter’s Hoffenheim team are still three points ahead of VfB, but have now recorded just one win in the past eleven games and have been without three points in seven games.

With the veterans Kramaric, Rudy and Pavel Kaderabek in the starting XI, Hoffenheim took on the challenge on matchday 17. The defender Kevin Vogt, who was injured recently, was able to play, but had to stay in the dressing room again at the break. His long-term sidekick Benjamin Hübner was officially dismissed: after a series of injuries, the ex-captain announced in December that he was retiring at the age of 33.

Rudy promptly brought ball security to his team in a hectic early phase when the Stuttgarters could hardly manage a combination. Kramaric extended a lob from Angeliño into the net – the early 1-0 gave the hosts security. After just under half an hour, winger Robert Skov had to leave the field. Tiago Tomás fared the same on the other side, he was replaced by Chris Führich, who enlivened the VfB game.

TSG initial offensive over quickly

Labbadia had trusted the same VfB starting formation as in the 1-1 draw against Mainz 05. Atakan Karazor, who he recently praised, tried to calm down his team’s game a bit, but for a long time almost nothing went forward. TSG’s initial offensive also fizzled out quickly – so a little respectable game developed.

To make matters worse, VfB defenders Konstantinos Mavropanos and Ihlas Bebou clashed their heads. The former continued with a laceration and a forehead bandage. Silas Katompa Mvumpa missed Stuttgart’s first chance shortly before the change – and the disaster for Hoffenheim took its course: goalkeeper Oliver Baumann rammed Angeliño, then Vogt lay dazed on the ground. Serhou Guirassy took advantage of this hectic pace in the TSG back team with a shot into the corner to make it 1-1.

Despite the inclusion of attacker Munas Dabbur and playful superiority, the Kraichgau remained harmless even after the break. The Stuttgart now dared to do something and plunged the TSG into many an embarrassment. Endo punished Hoffenheim for their lack of pressure and nervous game with the 2:1. Dabbur initially missed the chance to equalize – but Kramaric made sure to celebrate the 2:2 late on.

dpa

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