Hoffenheim in control of top 4 spot
The Bundesliga resumed on Friday with a crucial game in the race for Champions League qualification as fifth placed Hertha Berlin welcomed fourth placed Hoffenheim and Julian Nagelsmann’s men left capital with a crucial 3-1 win. The hosts had the better of the game in the opening quarter but after Andrej Kramarić’s penalty cancelled Peter Pekarík’s opener, the visitors gradually gained control and could have won by a bigger margin. Niklas Süle’s superb strike after Hertha Berlin went down to 10 men and a second for Kramarić late on, gave Hoffenheim a well-deserved three points.
The result means Hertha Berlin are now eight points behind Hoffenheim and for a second successive season, Pal Dardai’s men are fading at the business end after being in contention for a Champions League spot for most of the season. In truth, the squad is levelling out and with the resources that they have, Hertha achieving a Europa League place is still an excellent achievement.
For Hoffenheim, a good season is now on the verge of becoming great. Their 29-year old manager has elevated them to another level since taking over. Most Hoffenheim fans would have been happy with a mid-table finish before the start of the season, but Nagelsmann has changed expectations under his leadership. The win over Hertha cements their place in the top four and they can now realistically target direct entry in to the Champions League group stages with RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund very close. It’s all trending towards a successful conclusion to a wonderful campaign for Hoffenheim.