Dhe TSG 1899 Hoffenheim has celebrated its first ever away win on the international stage in the heavily shaken corona crisis area of Belgium. The team of coach Sebastian Hoeneß won the second group game in the Europa League at KAA Gent on Thursday evening with 4: 1 (1: 0). Ishak Belfodil with a converted hand penalty (36th minute), the outstanding Florian Grillitsch (52nd), Mijat Gacinovic (73rd) and Munas Dabbur (90th + 4) scored the goals for 1899. Despite the hit by the former Heidenheimer Tim Kleindienst (90. + 3) at 3: 1 in the meantime, the Bundesliga club expanded its lead in Group L with a courageous appearance and the highest European Cup victory in the club’s history.
With the second success in the second game after the 2-0 at the start against Roter Stern Belgrade, the Kraichgauer could also thank Oliver Baumann. The goalkeeper blocked a penalty from Roman Yaremchuk in the 14th minute. The game took place in the empty Ghelamco Arena. In terms of population, Belgium is one of the countries in the European Union hardest hit by the pandemic, along with the Czech Republic.
The Hoffenheimers have come one step closer to their big goal of wintering in an international competition for the third time. Against the thirteenth of the table in the Jupiler Pro League, Hoeneß attacked Belfodil, Ihlas Bebou and Robert Skov after striker Andrej Kramaric is still in quarantine.
The former Heidenheimer Niklas Dorsch, who was trained at FC Bayern, convinced the Belgian champions of 2015. The former goalscorer of the second division club, Tim Kleindienst, only came in the 69th minute – and was allowed to perpetuate himself as a goalscorer in the statistics. In the middle of their concentrated and combination-safe opening phase, the Hoffenheim team had to accept a penalty: Stefan Posch brought down Yaremchuk, but the Ukrainian striker failed from the point on the strong TSG keeper Baumann.
Sebastian Rudy and Grillitsch in particular directed the game against Wim De Decker’s team, who is already Ghent’s third coach in this troubled season. As KAA wobbled more and more, Bebou missed a big chance (28th) before Belfodil converted his penalty. It was a very special moment for the Algerian international striker after a long period of suffering with a cruciate ligament operation.
Grillitsch failed shortly after the break with a touchdown, but then scored after a wonderful combination to make it 2-0. The Austrian international rushed to leave the stadium against Belgrade at halftime to be there for the birth of his daughter. The former Frankfurt substitute Gacinovic then made everything clear with a nice shot to make it 3-0 – before two late goals were scored. “I am very happy about this clear and well-deserved victory,” said coach Hoeneß: “The boys implemented the match plan optimally.”