Hoffenheim - Red Star

Europe: Europa League
Hoffenheim C. Baumgartner (64), M. Dabour (90)
WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena2-0
Red Star D. Falcinelli (66)

Hoffenheim break the jinx, send Stankovic to the stands in victory over Belgrade

By Peter Vice

Rookie Bundesliga trainer Sebastian Hoeneß dug deep into his roster to fill the void left by COVID-related quarantine measures and injuries. At the end of the evening, his Kraichgauer came through to earn their first victory in Europe since 2017.

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Photo: Hoffenheim

The Sinsheimers have their second overall European victory. Four players making their starting XI debut in the 2020/21 cycle saw to it. Newly acquired Ryan Sessegnon joined Florian Grillitsch, Christoph Baumgartner, and Munus Dabbur in to line up in a narrow 4-4-2 diamond.

After some early pressure from the German hosts, the match flattened out a bit with neither side able to generate many chances. Dejan Stankovic defended the attacking third with a very tight 3-6-1. Serbian striker Mijat Gacinovic did get a chance to draw a penalty for his German club in the 23rd, but Spanish referee Jose Alejandro Hernandez wasn't interested.

Matters got a little more lively as half-time approached. Red Star's Italian maestro Diego Falcinelli failed to connect with a dangerous pass in the 34th. Kevin Akpoguma missed from close range in the 40th. Finally, Dabbur hit the woodwork in the 44th.

Hoeneß made two changes prior to the restart. Gacinovic and Grillitsch made way for Diadie Samassekou and Dennis Geiger. The former began to take control of the match, as he's liable to do at times. A frustrated Serbian side began to complain that they were coming out on the wrong side of the refereeing decisions.

After Strahinja Erakovic was whistled down for offside in the 46th and an off-to-the-races Falcinelli called back for a purported foul on Stefan Posch in the 54th, Belgrade trainer Stankovic became noticeably more animated on the sidelines.

When Hoffenheim continued playing through what Stankovic considered a foul, the Italian league legend completely lost it. The sequence led to the 64th minute opening goal, with "Mr. Hoffenheim" Sebastian Rudy serving up Baumgartner via a silky smooth cross from the right.

Stankovic received a cautionary booking for his protests that an Akpoguma foul should have stopped the play. After the 42-year-old retreated to the tunnel to review video evidence on a tablet, then re-emerged to present it to the Spanish ref, he was sent off on a red.

A rather disorganized Belgrade side got a few looks in down the stretch, but it was the ever-suave Samassekou playing Dabbur through at 90+2 to double the advantage. The Kraichgauer tasted a long-awaited European victory.

1Oliver Baumann (C)
38Stefan Posch
22Kevin Vogt
25Kevin Akpoguma
17Ryan Sessegnon ↩90
16Sebastian Rudy
11Florian Grillitsch ↩46
20Mijat Gaćinović ↩46
14Christoph Baumgartner ↩78
10Moanes Dabour
19Ishak Belfodil ↩78
12Philipp Pentke
7Jacob Bruun Larsen ↪78
9Ihlas Bebou ↪78
23Sargis Adamyan
29Robert Skov ↪90
32Melayro Bogarde
8Dennis Geiger ↪46
18Diadie Samassekou ↪46
Red Star
82Milan Borjan (C)
25Strahinja Eraković
19Nemanja Milunović
5Miloš Degenek
2Milan Gajić ↩85
35Sekou Sanogo ↩75
22Veljko Nikolić
23Milan Rodić
70Srđan Spiridonović ↩76
10Aleksandar Katai ↩75
16Diego Falcinelli ↩85
1Zoran Popović
32Marko Ćopić
9Milan Pavkov ↪85
31El Ben Nabouhane ↪76
92Aleksa Vukanović ↪75
99Nikola Krstović
6Radovan Pankov
77Marko Gobeljić
20Njegoš Petrović ↪75
21Veljko Simić ↪85
24Željko Gavrić
49Andrija Radulović

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