TSG 1899 Hoffenheim – Hertha BSC: Defensive Frailties Decide An Even Affair (0-3)
On the surface, the encounter between TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Hertha BSC seems a one-sided affair won by a side revitalized by the freshness of a new manager. Yet what manifested between these two sides was a largely even match where the recurring weaknesses of the hosts contributed to decisive moments in the game.
Tactical analysis by Emmanuel Adeyemi-Abere.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim have underwhelmed this season under the tutelage of Alfred Schreuder. Positioned in ninth place at the beginning of the matchday, the side were in the midst of an erratic form of run prior to the COVID-19 lockdown with two wins, two draws and four losses in their previous eight league games indicative of their inconsistency.
Meanwhile, guests Hertha Berlin have endured a turbulent campaign. The side has transitioned to their third manager of the season following the dismissals of Ante Čović and subsequently Jürgen Klinsmann. Just six points above Fortuna Düsseldorf, a result for new manager Bruno Labbadia against the hosts would help to abate fears of being drawn into a relegation fight.
Schreuder lined up his side in a 4-1-4-1 defensive shape, moving away from the 5-3-2 system used against Schalke in the last league fixture before the lockdown, with three changes from the starting eleven in that encounter. Christoph Baumgartner replaced Diadie Samassékou in midfield and Stefan Posch deputized at left back with Steven Zuber positioned ahead of him as the left winger.
Meanwhile Labbadia deployed a 4-4-2 system. Immediately asserting his influence through seven alterations to the team which started . . .