It was a match of two polar opposite halves, with TSG Hoffenheim dominating the first 45 minutes, creating chance after chance, while Bayern floundered with the high pressure and quick counters by the hosts, only to have the script flipped in the second half. Bayern looked more like itself after the break, controlling possession, and creating goal-scoring opportunities en masse, but could not break through the well-organized TSG defense, or goalkeeper Oliver Baumann, who played out of his mind.
Hoffenheim control first half, Bayern turn the ball over
One could argue that all of the rotation — Carlo Ancelotti switched players at seven positions from the Augsburg game — may have caused the visitors to come out flat and disorganized, but there was still enough star power to go around. Credit has to go to Julian Nagelsmann, who set up his team in a 3-4-3, and pressured the defending German champions early and often, then hit them on quick counters. Unforced errors by Bayern players didn’t help the situation.
Bayern seemed to have weathered the first 20 minutes, which included a sliding save by Rafinha, and an excellent block on a counter by Sven Ulreich, and looked to be slowly getting into the game, when the ball fell to Croatian forward Andrej Kramaric at the top of the box. His half-volley shot for the opening goal was well-taken, but lackadaisical defending by Arturo Vidal and Renato Sanches allowed him the time to shoot, and Ulreich looked like he misplayed the fluttering ball a bit too — would Manuel Neuer have saved it?
The goal deflated the Reds, and the hosts started controlling the game again. Hoffenheim had another huge chance in the 41st minute, with Kerem Demirbay popping up in front of Ulreich’s goal on another quick counter, but the backup keeper made a nice save with his arm. On the other side, Robert Lewandowski had a huge chance to equalize right before the halftime whistle, but couldn’t connect properly with a well-played cross from Kingsley Coman, and ended up only hitting the crossbar.
Bayern regroup, dominate the second half
Even though there were no changes on either side, it looked like completely different teams came out of the locker room. Bayern started playing the way everyone expected them to, controlling possession and creating scoring opportunities. Meanwhile, Hoffenheim seemed to go into a shell, and let the guests have room to play.
A free kick cross in the 51st minute by Xabi Alonso was fisted out by Baumann, as three Bayern players flew by it. Lewandowski received the ball around the penalty spot from Arjen Robben in the 55th minute, faked out a defender, and took a shot destined for the top corner, only to have the TSG keeper gets his fingertips on it. A through ball from Lewandowski to Coman in the 60th minute resulted in the ball going just wide, as the keeper cleaned out the French national team player.
Other than the rare chance for Hoffenheim — Kramaric blasted the ball way over the goal from point blank range — it was all Bayern. But the host defense got in the way of most of the Bayern attempts. Mats Hummels and Lewandowski had a pair of glorious chances to tie up the game in injury time, but couldn’t bury it in the net, and Hoffenheim would hold on for their first ever win against the record German champions.
Only second loss of the current season
Bayern suffered only their second defeat of the current season, and still have a comfortable lead at the top of the standings, still at 13 points on RB Leipzig, who have a game in hand. Up next is a meeting with their big rivals from Dortmund, who come to the Allianz Arena on Saturday, with Real Madrid looming the following week.
Goals: Hoffenheim 1 – Bayern 0
Hoffenheim: Kramaric (21’)
Bayern: Lewandowski (64’)
Hoffenheim XI: Baumann - Süle, Vogt, Hübner - Toljan, Demirbay (Schwegler, 62’), Rudy Terrazzino 75’), Zuber - Kramaric, Wagner (Szalai, 62’), Amiri
Bayern XI: Ulreich - Rafinha, Martínez, Hummels, Alaba (Bernat, 75’) - Sanches (Ribery, 72’), Alonso, Vidal - Robben, Lewandowski, Coman
(As you can see, we got some pretty great pictures for this match. BFW friend Stewart Johnstone was nice enough to send us photos from the match. You can see more of his work on his website.)