The best TSG moments of 2018

2018 has been full of poignant moments for TSG Hoffenheim. Whether it be the 3-1 victory against Borussia Dortmund; the first ever qualification for the group stages of the UEFA Champions League or the first ever World Cup goal to be scored by a Hoffenheim player, looks back at twelve images which highlight twelve great successes of TSG's year of 2018!


The year started on a high! On 10 January, TSG Hoffenheim signed a familiar talent for the long term: Dennis Geiger extended his contract until 30 June 2022. The 20-year-old has worn a TSG shirt since his U12s days. He celebrated his professional debut for the club on 12 August 2017, in the DFB Cup against Rot-Weiß Erfurt (0-1). In January, it became clear that he would continue to play many more games in a TSG shirt.



It was a groundbreaking success story. The 4-2 victory against FSV Mainz 05 on 10 February sparked a great comeback in the second half of the season, which was subsequently rewarded with third place in the league and the first qualification for the group stages of the Champions League. Adam Szalai and Andrej Kramaric scored twice against FSV and after the game in Mainz, TSG lost only two out of 11 league games.


History was made and records were broken in the third month of the year. TSG celebrated their highest scoring victory in their Bundesliga history. It was against 1. FC Köln that Julian Nagelsmann's men won 6-0 (1-0) and fascinated spectators with unstoppable offensive football. Mark Uth and Serge Gnabry scored twice against the later relegated club. In addition to that, Lukas Rupp and Steven Zuber contributed to the scoresheet.


The situation before the fixture against RB Leipzig was clear: the winner of the game would still have a chance at making it to the Champions League. In the end, it was TSG who celebrated, after winning the spectacular game 5-2 (3-0), thus overtaking Leipzig in the table. Amongst the flurry of goals, Pavel Kaderabek scored his first Bundesliga goal for Hoffenheim. In addition, Mark Uth (2), Serge Gnabry and Lukas Rupp were amongst the scorers.


It is a special moment that will go further than the annual review of 2018. It will go down in the history of this club. On Matchday 34, BVB arrived in Sinsheim. It was a definitive fixture of the season for both clubs, as it would decide which team would qualify for the Champions League. To secure themselves a place, TSG needed to win with a two-goal lead. After an epic match, TSG managed to reach their objective by beating their league rivals 3-1 (1-0). After the final whistle, the barriers were broken down and the spectators stormed the pitch to celebrate and cheer with the TSG players - especially the goalscorers Andrej Kramaric, Adam Szalai and Pavel Kaderabek.




TSG even charmed audiences at the greatest sporting spectacle of the year. Steven Zuber and Andrej Kramaric represented TSG Hoffenheim at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. On 17 June, Zuber made his way into the history books when the man from Switzerland scored against the record world champions Brazil, to make the final score 1-1, resulting in the first ever Hoffenheim goal at a World Cup.



During the summer, TSG took part in the biggest match in the World. Steven Zuber's goal was not the only Hoffenheim highlight during the World Cup in Russia. It gets even better: Andrej Kramaric stormed through the tournament with the Croatian team, right up to the final. Although Kramaric and co. fell short of the title after a 4-2 defeat against France, they nevertheless achieved something historical. It was Croatia's best World Cup run in history and when Kramaric was brought on in the second half, it was the first time that TSG Hoffenheim had ever been represented in a World Cup final. The 27-year-old played in every match and scored in the quarter-finals.



It was the moment that both the fans and the players had been waiting for. On 30 August it was finally time to take part in the draw for the group stages of the Champions League. A group of delegates accompanied Managing Directors, Frank Briel and Dr. Peter Görlich down to Monaco to take part, live at the Grimaldi Forum, as TSG Hoffenheim were pulled out of the hat. The draw resulted in TSG competing in a group against the English champions Manchester City as well as Shakhtar Donetsk and Olympique Lyon.



Europe here we come: only 20 days after the draw, the TSG players ran onto the pitch for their first fixture in the Champions League. Hoffenheim travelled to Ukraine and competed in Kharkiv against Shakhtar Donetsk. It was a perfect start: after just five minutes, Florian Grillitsch brought TSG into the lead and scored Hoffenheim's first ever goal in the group stages of the Champions League. In the end, the scoreline remained level 2-2 (1-2).



The battle against title favourites: on 2 October, TSG hosted its first home game in the group stages of the Champions League - against one of the best teams in the world. The reigning English champions, Manchester City, arrived in Sinsheim and were hastily made aware of Hoffenheim's strength: Ishak Belfodil took Hoffenheim into the lead within the first minute of play. After an equaliser from Kun Agüero (7'), it was an open game. Unfortunately, Manchester snatched victory just before the end, through David Silva's goal in the 87th minute.


Number 10 for Italy: it was always, "A lifetime dream to play for the Italian national team," for Vincenzo Grifo. On 20 November, the 25-year-old came on for Federico Chiesa in the second half, enabling him to celebrate his debut for the "Squadra Azzura" - wearing the number 10 on his back. The debut was successful with Italy winning 1-0 thanks to a goal by Matteo Politano in the fourth minute of stoppage time.


It was a sublime farewell to the big stage. At the end of the group stages in the Champions League, TSG Hoffenheim arrived at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium. 1,800 TSG fans accompanied Julian Nagelsmann's men to Manchester, providing strong support. As in the first leg, TSG took the lead against Manchester, but Leroy Sané turned around the work that Andrej Kramaric (16') had done, with a brace (45+1', 61'). Alexander Rosen was nevertheless satisfied and drew an extremely positive conclusion from the year of 2018, "We have put TSG on the map in Europe."

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