TSG lose intense opening match

TSG Hoffenheim were unlucky to be beaten 3-1 by Bayern Munich in the opening match of the Bundesliga season. Adam Szalai netted to level the score at 1-1 before a controversial spot-kick set the champions on the path to victory.

Personnel and tactics:

Coach Julian Nagelsmann opted to make one change to the starting XI that beat Kaiserslautern 6-1 in the DFB Cup, selecting Florian Grillitsch ahead of Steven Zuber in the central defensive midfield role, though the 3-5-2 formation remained the same. Oliver Baumann lined up between the sticks behind a back three of Ermin Bicakcic, Kevin Vogt and Kasim Adams, with Pavel Kaderabek (right) and Nico Schulz (left) occupying the two wing-back berths. Leonardo Bittencourt, Grillitsch and Vincenzo Grifo formed the midfield trio, with the duo of Adam Szalai and Joelinton getting the nod in the centre-forward positions.

Bayern boss Niko Kovac made three changes to the side that defeated Drochtersen/Assel 1-0 in the DFB Cup, with Rafinha, Mats Hummels and Arjen Robben making way for David Alaba, Niklas Süle and Kingsley Coman. While no summer signings featured in the Bayern starting XI, Nagelsmann opted to field newcomers Adams, Grifo and Bittencourt in his line-up, as well as Joelinton, who returned from a loan spell at Rapid Vienna in the summer.

TSG stuck to their tactical gameplan against the champions, despite the significant pressure exerted by Kovac's charges. "Hoffe" played a passionate and tough-tackling game, with referee Bastian Dankert opting for a strict interpretation of the rules and showing the quartet of Adams, Bittencourt, Kaderabek and Schulz the yellow card. At the other end, goalscorer Thomas Müller went into the referee's notebook for an overzealous challenge on Bittencourt in first-half stoppage time.

In the second period Nagelsmann brought off Grifo and replaced him with Swiss international Zuber. TSG tried to adopt a more attacking mindset after the restart and, even though Bayern remained dangerous after Arjen Robben had replaced the injured Coman, Nagelsmann's team now looked the braver of the two sides as they piled pressure on the favourites. Following a quick move initiated by Bicakcic, they got their just reward. Adam Szalai levelled the scores at 1-1, having been set up by a pass made by Bicakcic as he tumbled to the ground.

TSG did not sit back and instead tried to take the lead, but Nagelsmann did need to make a couple of changes − Kevin Akpoguma replaced Kasim Adams, who made a tough-tackling Bundesliga debut, while Havard Nordtveit came on for the injured Kevin Vogt − to shore up the defence. The back three lacked stability after the personnel changes, yet the visitors could still consider themselves unlucky to concede what seemed like an undeserved penalty for Bayern. But referee Dankert did not adjudge Ribery to have dived, instead penalising Nordtveit for a foul. The video assistant referee was not deployed for that incident, but was used moments later to review the taking of the spot-kick. After that, it was all Bayern.

Moment of the match:

Nordtveit's 78th-minute tackle on Ribery, who chipped the ball over the Norwegian before going to ground. Dankert still pointed to the spot, however.

The game in numbers:

3,500 (the number of TSG fans who accompanied the team to Munich)


Match highlights


Müller heads home the opening goal. Kimmich whips in an in-swinging corner from the left and the unmarked Müller rises unimpeded to hand the home side the advantage. Oliver Baumann looks on powerless as the close-range effort flies past him.


Excellent opportunity for TSG! That could've been the equaliser there. Schulz makes a good run down the left and fizzes a dangerous ball across the penalty area, but an unmarked Joelinton drags his effort wide of the target from five metres out.


Baumann makes an outstanding stop from Kingsley Coman, who dribbles his way into the penalty area and is clean through on goal. But the shot-stopper comes rushing off his line to narrow the angle and makes the save with his left arm.


TSG look the livelier team after the restart as Florian Grillitsch tests Manuel Neuer. The Austrian pulls the trigger from 20 metres out but the Germany custodian gathers the ball at the second attempt on the slippery surface.


Chance for Robben! It's a classic dribbling run from the Dutchman, who races down the right flank before cutting inside and curling the ball narrowly wide from the edge of the box.


Szalai restores parity for Hoffenheim, who get their reward for their strong start to the second period. Ermin Bicakcic plays the ball from the edge of the area to Adam Szalai, who gets the better of Jerome Boateng and drills his strike into the far corner from a distance of 12 metres.


Zuber's shot from 18 metres takes a deflection off Joshua Kimmich and Manuel Neuer is forced to make a fingertip save to stop the visitors taking the lead.


Penalty for Bayern! Referee Dankert points to the spot following a challenge between Nordtveit and Ribery.


2-1 to Bayern. Robert Lewandowski converts the penalty kick to restore the Bayern Munich advantage. But the spot-kick is not without its fair share of drama. Lewandowski's first penalty is kept out by Baumann, with Robben scoring from the follow-up. But after consulting VAR, Dankert realises that the Dutchman had entered the penalty area before the kick had been taken. The penalty is retaken and it's second time lucky for Lewandowski.


The video assistant referee is consulted once again. A shot by Goretzka takes a deflection off Müller's elbow and sails past a wrong-footed Baumann. Referee Dankert initially allows the goal to stand, but upon consulting VAR he decides it's a handball and the goal is disallowed.


Robben makes it 3-1. A Kimmich throw makes its way to Robben via Müller and the winger smashes home from inside the box.

Match facts and statistics »

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