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15.30 Kickoffs:
Eintracht-Hertha ends in controversial draw, late wins for Augsburg and Hoffenheim

By Peter Vice   @ViceytheSS

A wild set of 15:30 kickoffs in the 2022/23 German Bundesliga's 2nd matchday saw five fixtures enter the final ten minutes all leveled up. 

Late goals from Augsburg and Hoffenheim propelled those two sides to victory while two late goals in the match between Bremen and Stuttgart cancelled each other out. 

Stuttgart-Bremen, Leipzig-Köln, and (with a certain degree of controversy) Eintracht-Hertha all finished with level scorelines on the "day of dramatic finishes" in the Bundesliga. 
Oliver Glasner.
Oliver Glasner.Photo: Sven Mandel, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0
Eintracht Frankfurt remain winless through two rounds of the 2022/23 German Bundesliga campaign after drawing 1-1 with Hertha at the Olympiastadion. The closely watched SGE managed to come back from a 0-1 halftime deficit and, surely in the opinion of many, might have deserved a chance to win the fixture on a late penalty. It nevertheless came to "Remis" in the German capital in a match that was thoroughly engaging.


Hertha trainer Sandro Schwarz made four personnel changes to the side that dropped their third straight league (and fourth consecutive overall) Berliner derby away at Union Berlin last week. Lucas Tousart and Maximilian Mittelstädt replaced veteran team leaders Marvin Plattenhardt and Kevin Prince-Boateng. Newly acquired center forward Wilfried Kanga made his starting XI debut in place of Davie Selke. Another summer signing, Chidera Ejuke, took over for Myziane Maolida on the left-flank. Maolida had to withdraw with muscular issues.

Oliver Glasner rotated in three players following the UEFA Super Cup loss to Real Madrid last week. Jesper Lindstrøm, Rafael Santos Borré and captain Sebastian Rode all began the game on the bench. Glasner appeared to deviate from his usual tactical set-up. Lucas Alario and Randal Kolo Muani lined up in a clear double-striker set. Daichi Kamada and Mario Götze provided close buttressing support just behind. Djbril Sow ran the midfield from a deep position, with Christopher Lenz and Ansgar Knauff almost working as wingbacks.

Schwarz had called for a more aggressive start from his team. After Hertha initially weathered some early Eintracht set-pieces, the Berliners were able to rise to their coach's challenge. Ejuke capitalized on a Kamada turnover in midfield and was able to unleash Dodi Lukebakio on the right. Lukebakio was able to cross in for Suat Sardar, who beat Knauff in a driver aerial duel to head home the 1-0 in the 3rd. The Hessian guests nearly grabbed the equalizer four minute later, but Alario fluffed a poor finish wide.

The game proceeded at a brisk pace over the next 15 minutes. Both sides kept it lively, always looking for a way forward. The next big chance fell to Hertha in the 23rd. Mittelstädt set up Kanga beautifully from close range. The former Young Boys Bern striker regrettably wasted the oppourtinty with a finish over the bar. Eintracht were able to dominate possession for the duration of the half, yet consistently found themselves stymied by a Hertha side very much focused on defending.

Glasner pulled Knauff at the half in favor of Faride Alidou at the half. The SGE displayed some more bite after the restart and the equalizer was not long in forthcoming. Kamada atoned for his earlier mistake by slotting home the 1-1 in the 48th. This time, Hertha defender Filip Uremovic committed a bad turnover. Kolo Muani snatched up poor pass out of the back to set up the Japanese international. Kolo Muani narrowly missed a chance at the 2-1 seven minutes later.


The game slowed up a bit thereafter, slowed up by substitutions and mandated hydration breaks. Alidou and the subbed-on Stevan Jovetic traded chances in a period of exciting ends-to-end action some time after the hour-mark. The two actors both missed splendid opportunities to give their side the lead. Alidou again came close in the 78th. The controversial scenes came as the the match entered second half injury time.

Hertha keeper Oliver Christiansen took a clear swipe at Borré's foot as Colombian dribbled into the penalty area. The SGE sub subsequently lost his balance and tumbled to the turf. Match official Frank Willenborg initially showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot. After the veteran ref was invited to take another look at the scene by the VAR team, however, Willenborg reversed his initial decision and waved the penalty off.

Replays confirmed that there was clear contact on Borré's foot and the decision honestly could have gone either way. There were surely many subjective debates all across the pubs of the Bundesrepublik over the scene. Such divergent opinions notwithstanding, Frankfurt were not given a chance to take all three points. In the end, the spoils were shared.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim were able to engineer a big comeback against visiting Bochum. After falling behind 0-2 courtesy of a Simon Zoller brace inside of 13 minutes, André Breitenreiter's Kraichgauer fought back to even the score by the 23rd. A draw seemed to be in the cards after Andrej Kramaric missed a second-half penalty, but Munus Dabbur was able to grab the winner in the 88th.

The big upset of the day came over at the Bay Arena. Some truly heroic goalkeeping from Augsburg nezminder Rafal Gikiewicz enabled Augsburg to remain in the game against a Leverkusen side doing far more than enough to break a 1-1 deadlock. The visiting Fuggerstädter then snatched an improbable 2-1 victory late when André Hahn scored against the run-of-play on another goal controversially influenced by a VAR review.

There was some more late-match craziness over at the Weserstadion. Newly promoted SV Werder Bremen were able to dig out their second consecutive draw after it seemed certain that visiting Stuttgart were headed for a 2-1 victory. Werder substitute Oliver Burke scored at the death to give Bremen another 2-2 draw.

Leipzig-Köln also ended 2-2 in a curious match that saw Domenico Tedesco's Saxons reduced to ten-men when Dominik Szoboszlai was sent off on a straight red at the end of the opening 45. The Bundesliga player-of-the season (and Ballon d'or nominee) Christopher Nkunku put his side ahead despite the disadvantage, but a Josko Gvardiol own-goal restored parity.

In the Leipzig match, Timo Werner did score a goal in his highly anticipated homecoming. It was nevertheless an extremely soft goal let in thanks to a horrible error from Köln keeper Marvin Schwäbe.


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