Hoffenheim head coach Sebastian Hoeness admits he would rather the early Bundesliga leaders were second in the table as they look to follow up their shock win over Bayern Munich.
Bayern, the European champions, saw their record 23-match winning streak abruptly ended last Sunday at unfancied Hoffenheim, who now top the league on goal difference.
It was Bayern’s first loss in ten months and generated plenty of headlines in the German media.
«To be honest, I would’ve preferred us to be second,» Hoeness said after Andrej Kramaric scored twice to seal a 4-1 win over Bayern, «because that’s all that’s going to be talked about,» which is what happened.
For Hoeness, beating Bayern is no more than a confidence booster «up our sleeve» for Saturday’s next match at third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt, who are also unbeaten after two league games.
The 38-year-old joined Hoffenheim in July after a season coaching Bayern’s reserves when they won the third division league title.
«Too good, too soon for Bayern’s plans,» commented Munich-based newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
«Sebastian Hoeness shone in his first season as reserve coach and Bayern was caught off guard by interest from Hoffenheim.»
To make matters worse for the Bavarians, the Hoeness surname is synonymous with Bayern Munich.
His father is former West Germany and Munich striker Dieter Hoeness, while uncle Uli Hoeness is the club’s out-spoken honorary president, who helped turn Bayern into a European powerhouse.
«I’ve lived with it all my life, I’ve always called myself Hoeness, and that name polarises,» admitted the Hoffenheim coach.
«Of course, I sometimes wish I could be recognised as Sebastian, and not as Hoeness, but I have to live with it.»
Starting the season with wins over Cologne and Bayern has earned Hoeness praise from his employers.
«He is very competent, his work is meticulous, and he puts the team first,» enthused Hoffenheim sports director Alexander Rosen.
While Uli Hoeness has a notorious temper, his nephew takes a more serene approach.
«What’s important for us is to stay calm,» Sebastian Hoeness said after the win over Bayern.
«We are in a process. We’re on the right track, but now it’s a matter of making the most of our victory against Bayern in the next game in Frankfurt.»
Hoeness has one of the Bundesliga’s hottest properties in Kramaric, who has scored seven goals in three games in 2020/21 – five in the league and two in the German Cup
«He is in absolute top form,» said Frankfurt coach Adi Huetter, «no wonder Bayern Munich is perhaps interested» amid reports the European champions want to sign Kraramic.
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One to watch: Matheus Cunha» data-reactid=»55″>
One to watch: Matheus Cunha
The 21-year-old wept tears of joy after receiving his first call up for Brazil this week and will lead the Hertha Berlin attack behind closed doors at Bayern Munich on Sunday.
His six goals and three assists in 13 Bundesliga matches since his January move from RB Leipzig has seen Brazil coach Tite call up Cunha for World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Bolivia later this month.
Cunha had a surprise when his number was added to the Selecao’s WhatsApp group and one of his idols responded.
«I wrote that I was happy to be part of it, and Neymar responded straightway by saying ‘welcome!’,» Cunha told the Bundesliga website.
295 – the days between Bayern Munich’s 2-1 previous loss at Borussia Moenchengladbach on December 7, 2019, and Sunday’s defeat at Hoffenheim.
19 – goals Erling Haaland, 20, has scored in 22 games for Borussia Dortmund ahead of Saturday’s home game against Freiburg.
18 – league games since Schalke last won in the Bundesliga as new coach Manuel Baum tries to land their first victory since January at RB Leipzig on Saturday.
Fixtures (all times 1330 GMT unless stated)
FC Union v Mainz (1830)
Borussia Dortmund v Freiburg, Eintracht Frankfurt v Hoffenheim, Cologne v Borussia Moenchengladbach, Werder Bremen v Arminia Bielefeld, VfB Stuttgart v Bayer Leverkusen, RB Leipzig v Schalke 04 (1630)
VfL Wolfsburg v Augsburg, Bayern Munich v Hertha Berlin (1600)