2023 has come to an end and the Bundesliga enters its traditional Winterpause, which gives us here at Bundesliga Fanatic the ideal opportunity to take a closer look at each of the eighteen clubs and rate their performance in the first half of the season. Next we run the rule over TSG Hoffenheim.
The story so far
Hoffenheim’s Hinrunde record can be summed up in a short phrase- horrible at home, impressive away. If the Bundesliga table were based solely on home form, the Sinsheim club would be relegation fodder with the fourth worst record in the league. Their away form however would see them amongst the Champions League places with only Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich possessing better away records.
Pellegrino Matarazzo steered the club away from the relegation zone last season, but started the new season with a 2-1 home loss to Freiburg. They responded well with four successive wins, scoring 11 goals and conceding just four. Wolfsburg were beaten at the PreZero Arena, while away victories were secured against Heidenheim, Köln and Union Berlin.
The next five matches entered a frustrating pattern of losing at home (Dortmund, Frankfurt, Leverkusen) and winning away (Werder Bremen and high-flying Stuttgart). Their away form did however desert them when they were eliminated from the DFB Pokal in the second round at the Signal Iduna Park.
The last six games before Christmas brought disappointing draws against strugglers Augsburg, Mainz and Darmstadt, defeats away at both Mönchengladbach and RB Leipzig, but they did achieve a second home win of the season against VfL Bochum on matchday 14.
Injuries have robbed trainer Matarazzo of both Dennis Geiger and Mergim Berisha for most of the Hinrunde, but the emergence of 21-year-old striker Maximilian Beier has somewhat compensated for that. The teenager has hit six goals already and added five assists.
Tale of the tape
Record: 7-3-6, 24 points (1.50 per game), 7th in Bundesliga
Home Record: 8 points (2-2-4) Away Record: 16 points (5-1-2)
Goals: 32 (2 per game), Goals Against: 30 (1.88 per game), Diff: +2
xG: 27.2, xGA: 28
The run of four consecutive wins from matchday 2 was a highlight with the 3-2 win away at high-flying VfB Stuttgart possibly the most impressive individual result. Coming back from 2-0 down at Heidenheim to win 3-2 in the final fifteen minutes was also a highlight.
The paltry number of points acquired at home has been a real let down, while the draws at the end of the year against strugglers Augsburg, Mainz and Darmstadt must be seen as wasted points dropped.
It is very hard to look beyond striker Maximilian Beier for this. The signings of both Wout Weghorst and Mergim Berisha in the summer made his prospects look a little slim, but injury to Berisha and the fact that he has taken his chance when given, mean that he is currently one of the first names down on coach Pellegrino Matarazzo’s team sheet.
The 21-year-old has hit six goals thus far, provided five assists and is second only to Andrej Kramaric as the club’s best ranked player with regards Kicker’s player ratings.
Home form would be a D, away form would be an A-, but overall it’s been a quite satisfactory Hinrunde for Hoffenheim. If they can maintain their form away from home and just start winning more games at the PreZero Arena, then they could possibly be amongst the teams pushing for the European places. There is the danger however that their away form could also desert them and a return to the bottom half of the table could be on the cards.