TSG 1899 Hoffenheim – Manchester City: Disciplined Hoffenheim give City a true run for their money (1-2)

An inexperienced Hoffenheim side did everything they could to fend off Pep Guardiola’s brilliant Manchester City. After an opening goal after 44 seconds, Hoffenheim sat back and carried out their plan to keep Manchester City away from their box. A late David Silva winner gave the visitors the three points they did deserve.

Olympique Lyon beat Manchester City in the group opener, which meant that the English champions truly needed to get three points from this game. If your aim is to progress to the knockout stage, you do not want to end up with less than three points after two matches. Especially not when your next two games are against an excellent team in Shaktar Donetsk.

Club interests aside, this was also the first match between Julian Nagelsmann and Pep Guardiola. Whether it is the first of many encounters remains to be seen, but what is certain is that these are both renowned tacticians. So you could bet the house that this game would feature a tactical twist or two.

Nagelsmann’s Hoffenheim had drawn 2-2 in their first game against Shakhtar. They have lined up in a 5-2-3 or a 5-3-2 so far this season. Due to various reasons, five (!) central defenders were not available for this match.

Hoffenheim thus had to make do with a severely adjusted defense, where Justin Hoogma, Stefan Posch and Joshua Brenet all got the nod, accompanied by regulars Kevin Akpoguma and Pavel Kadeřábek.

The starting eleven in itself means nothing when a team is coached by Pep Guardiola. A fullback can always unexpectedly be chosen . . .

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Erik Elias (25) is co-founder and Head Editor of Between the Posts. Dutch, so admires Johan Cruijff and his football principles, but enjoys writing about other styles too. After six years of coaching youth football in the Netherlands, it's now time to focus on journalism. Communication student, graduating this year. Anchor of ‘De Voetbalpodcast', weekly Dutch football podcast. [ View all posts ]

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