Julian Nagelsmann sent a strong starting XI out at Pride Park in a 4-3-3 formation, including: Oliver Baumann, Pavel Kaderabek, Ermin Bicakcic, Lukas Rupp, Steven Zuber, Nadiem Amiri, Mark Uth, Benjamin Hübner, Kevin Vogt (captain), Adam Szalai und Serge Gnabry. Bicakcic and Hübner lined up in central defence, with Kaderabek and Zuber either side at full back. Vogt sat in holding midfield behind Rupp and Amiri in the middle. Szalai led the front line, supported by Uth and Gnabry either side.
TSG started well and controlled the match in the opening ten minutes, with Derby sitting deep but pressing hard when the situation arose. This had a positive impact for the hosts, as Hoffenheim began to struggle when playing the ball out the back.
RUPP OPENS THE SCORING
Nagelsmann’s men improved, however and controlled the game well in the midfield, linking up and moving the ball freely. Adam Szalai had the best chance to open the scoring, while Serge Gnabry also forced a strong save from Scott Carson. Szalai thought he had scored the opener for TSG after latching onto Gnabry’s cross, but his goal was ruled out after Gnabry was flagged for offside. The hosts were also dangerous at the other end, but Kaderabek and Hübner were on hand to clear off the line.
There were two changes to the line-up at half time, as Gnabry and Amiri were replaced by Demirbay and Kramaric in attack, though neither were involved in the eventual breakthrough. Instead, it was Szalai and Rupp, the former following in to finish after the latter’s shot was saved by Carson.
The goal was followed by four more changes: Bicakcic, Szalai, Uth and Hübner all coming off for Sandro Wagner, Dennis Geiger, Eugen Polanski and Havard Nordtveit.
BAUMANN SAVES FROM THE SPOT
The hosts were handed their biggest opportunity to level the score in the 67th minute when Dennis Geiger conceded a penalty to Derby. Brad Johnson stepped up to take the spot kick, but was denied by an outstretched Baumann. More changes followed as Robert Zulj, Stefan Posch and Nico Schulz replaced Kaderabek, Zuber and Lukas Rupp.
Derby found an equaliser with ten minutes left to play; Matej Vydra capitalising on a defensive error before beating Baumann one-on-one. But then TSG did what they did so often last season – they hit back immediately, as Wagner fired in left-footed from outside the box.
Julian Nagelsmann: I’m happy with the match. We should have been 4-1 up at the break. We had some really big chances that we didn’t take. That can happen. We went into the game with the expectation to win. We did that and were the better team over 90 minutes. We still have some time to work on certain things. In particular, I was very happy with how we transitioned from attack to defence and vice versa. We still had some problems in the final third. That will be our focus in the coming week.
Lukas Rupp: We moved the ball very well for large spells of the match today and created many chances. But we weren’t clinical enough in front of goal. We need to score more goals. Today was a very good test for us. Derby are a lot further ahead than us in their preparations, they start their new season next week. I think we can still improve at winning the ball back, among other things.
Oliver Baumann: We dealt very well with the physicality of the match; it was a very good test for us. We fought, but also played football. We’re on a good path, but I think the next few weeks will be very important for us. We need the time to work on the things that Julian wants from us. We were very good at times today, but score one or two goals too few.