It was reserved for Marius Wolf to give the first interview after his Cologne team’s 0-3 in Hoffenheim. But before he vented his anger about how “stupid” they had defended, the offensive man shot a ball into the black night sky. The anger over the fully deserved defeat was so much more noticeable than his coach Markus Gisdol, who had stayed on the bench for the last quarter of an hour, but looked similarly frustrated after the game. “The way we got the goals was really annoying,” he said. “If you defend like that and produce set pieces, you have no chance.”
After just seven minutes it was 1-0 for TSG. And that after a hand penalty, which for once was completely undisputed. Sava-Arangel Cestic jumped into a shot by Ilas Bebou with his arms raised and stopped the ball with one hand. Andrej Kramaric had no trouble converting the penalty (7th).
Cologne coach Gisdol had meanwhile again called up a starting line-up in which there was no attacker among ten field players. The two midfielders Wolf and Ondrej Duda played furthest away from their own goal. Surprisingly, hardly anyone finds such a basic orientation at FC, who is currently looking for a striker to be signed on at short notice. The fact that after falling behind they continued to play in a wait-and-see manner before things got much more energetic in the second round was astonishing.
When Cologne got close to the Hoffenheim penalty area in the first half, the offensives often got in each other’s way. Duda jumped the ball twice when accepting it (12/16). Wolf, the most conspicuous Cologne that evening, failed after half an hour from close range to goalkeeper Oliver Baumann, shortly before the half-time whistle he headed the ball to the post (45th). It was no accident that both chances preceded corners.
Cologne did not achieve much from the game – not necessarily a finding that would be read for the first time after the 18th matchday, although the Rhinelanders had to be admitted that they often combined the two penalties nicely and despite the devastating Not giving up the result – that was different at the 0: 5 in Freiburg two weeks ago. “We did it properly until the sixteenth,” said Gisdol. “The offensive game wasn’t the point of criticism today.”
In fact, Hoffenheim, which announced on Saturday that Jakob Bruun-Larsen will be loaned to RSC Anderlecht until the end of the season, showed in some actions that it had only landed its first win of the year last Tuesday. Nevertheless, they deservedly led by two goals difference at halftime. After a corner that was defended too briefly, Mijat Gacinovic withdrew, Christoph Baumgartner extended with a hoe, and it was 2-0 (28th), Kramaric (42nd) could have extended the lead.
If, on the other hand, the Cologne attack efforts had been recorded with a thermal camera, the Hoffenheim penalty area would have remained a largely deep blue zone. The question of how this team wants to score goals was also an urgent question on Sunday, while Hoffenheim worked hard on goal difference and was actively supported by the Cologne team.
After a clumsy foul by substitute Anthony Modeste on Baumgartner, Kramaric, who had already had another chance (65th), converted his second penalty to 3-0 (75th). Coach Gisdol, who had spent almost the entire second half on the bench in the last 5-0 draw in Freiburg, didn’t have to get up again until the final whistle. Modeste neither took a penalty past Baumann (76th), nor did he hit the first goal of the season when he hit the header in the 84th minute.