18th matchday: Hoffenheim celebrates its penalty specialists

18th matchday
Hoffenheim celebrates its penalty specialists

Cologne’s Ismail Jakobs (lr), Hoffenheim’s Andrej Kramaric and Cologne’s Ellyes Skhiri fight for the ball. Photo: Uwe Anspach / dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

“Wait a long time, jump quickly” – with this method, Hoffenheim’s keeper Oliver Baumann saved a penalty again. Andrej Kramaric converted two penalties against Cologne – and is now the winner of the unofficial competition: “The Bundesliga is looking for the super Croatian”.

Happy team meals are not hip in Corona times, but Andrej Kramaric will come up with something.

“I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t mess up,” said coach Sebastian Hoeneß about his goalscorer after TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s 3-0 win against 1. FC Köln. With his goals number 73 and 74, the 29-year-old professional footballer became the most successful Croatian goal scorer in Bundesliga history on Sunday evening.

A record that Kramaric clearly fills with pride. «In addition to Mario Mandzucic, Ivica Olic – such great athletes, such great careers. I have to be really happy. I never thought that I could do it, “said the 2018 World Cup runner-up in his sonorous voice and laughed:” Sorry in my German. ”

Kramaric no longer gives interviews in English. He has been playing for the Kraichgauer for five years – and is more valuable than ever. Given his hit rate in 146 league games, it’s very simple: Kramaric scores in every second game – twelve times this season, although he was out of action for a long time after his corona illness. With ex-professional Olic, who scored 72 goals for Hamburger SV, FC Bayern Munich and VfL Wolfsburg, the Hoffenheimer wants to call this week.

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Kramaric fooled Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn on two penalties (7th and 75th minute). As so often, he waited until the last moment before firing. Since his Bundesliga debut in January 2016, when the attacker came from later English champions Leicester City, only one player has scored more penalty goals than Kramaric (19): Bayern’s super striker and world footballer Robert Lewandowski at 25.

With a famous hacking goal, Christoph Baumgartner (28th) also scored for the resurgent Hoffenheimers. And they still had a penalty specialist: goalkeeper Oliver Baumann saved a penalty from Cologne’s Anthony Modeste in the 78th minute, which gave the relegation candidate the rest.

Baumann had already saved a penalty in the 3-0 win at Hertha BSC during the week. Since the start of the 2011/12 season, only ex-Leverkusen-based Bernd Leno has saved as many penalties as Baumann – namely nine. “Wait a long time, jump quickly” – this is how the 30-year-old captain explained his recipe for success.

Baumann, who was promoted to the national team last year and will compete with his team at Bayern Munich and Manuel Neuer next Saturday, does not want to be called a “penalty killer”: instead, the relationship between held and not held Penalties too bad.


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