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A. Kramarić (32), A. Stiller (49), S. Rudy (84)
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By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Kramaric after latest loss: "The whole season hurts."

Asked to deputize as the squad's captain on Saturday evening, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim striker Andrej Kramaric began by taking his own responsibility for the club's unsuccessful campaign this year in his post-match interview. 

The Croatian then vented more general frustration at his club's disappointing campaign. Hoffenheim's European hopes are now, almost surely, history.
On a personal level, it's been a noteworthy year for Croatian striker Andrej Kramaric. The 30-year-old signed a contract extension with the club he's played for since 2016 in early March. This constituted a reversal of course for the veteran, who had hitherto been keen on testing the market.

After Saturday's loss to Freiburg, the Bundesliga's best Croat marksman might have found himself rethinking his decision. Despite playing a great game in which he scored a goal and registered an assist, a 3-4 loss to Freiburg left his club with slim hopes of qualifying for Europe.

The Kraichgauer look very likely to miss out on European club football for the second consecutive season. On a professional level, Kramaric's season has been a flop. He followed up last year's 20-goal-league haul with only five tallies in the current campaign.

"Of course I could have scored more goals this season," the man tapped to wear the captain's armband against Freiburg noted afterwards, "I had many chances. Unfortunately, I didn't utilize them as well as last year."

"It hurts," he continued, "the whole season hurts. Sometimes we played really good football, but now we're in eighth place and have almost no hope of making the Europa League."

Kramaric did reserve some criticism for both the team's inconsistencies as a whole and the many personnel issues that have plagued the squad over the course of the current seven-game-winless run.

"I've often been angry because so many players were missing injured or with COVID," he added, "We have to manage to be better positioned in terms of personnel. We could never play two games with the same lineup."

"That's certainly one reason why we're eighth and not fourth fifth or six," he went on, "We can play also play super football against Bayern or Dortmund, but can't manage it against Bochum or Fürth."

In order to qualify for the final Europa League place, Hoffenheim would have to win both remaining matches against Leverkusen and Gladbach while Köln lose their remaining two against Wolfsburg and Stuttgart.

Chances of qualifying for the UEFA Europa Conference League qualification path (seventh place) also appear slim. Union Berlin maintains a five point gap over the Sinsheimers with matches against Freiburg and Bochum remaining.

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