Ihlas Bebou’s brace sends Hoffenheim third as Ricardo Pepi makes Augsburg debut
Ihlas Bebou scored twice to help Hoffenheim come back from behind and beat Augsburg in Ricardo Pepi’s Bundesliga debut.
Hoffenheim 3-1 Augsburg
Goals: 0-1 Gregoritsch 5 ‘(assistance: Maier), 1-1 Bebou 38 ‘(pass: Raum), 2-1 Bebou 44 ‘(pass: Akpoguma), 3-1 Raum 90 ‘+ 3 (assistance: Rutter)
Despite watching off the bench in the first half, Pepi got to see all that Bundesliga football has to offer. The match was less than 90 seconds old when the ball hit the back of the net after Munas Dabbur put the ball over the line, but it was called off on review due to handball. Augsburg then pulled up the other end and got one that held on when Michael Gregoritsch headed from a corner into the six-yard box. Bebou was only inches from an instant response as he trailed off, but the Togo international wouldn’t go wrong with his next two chances. The equalizer was put on a plaque for him by the sublime cross from David Raum from the left behind the visitors’ defense. Hoffenheim then took the lead thanks to Bebou’s second. Kevin Akpoguma, who had just replaced Pavel Kaderabek, pushed his way past Iago before getting the striker home at the near post and knocking the game down on the stroke of half-time.
Ruben Vargas thought he had a chance to equalize right after the restart, but Oliver Baumann turned him down head-to-head before the flag was also raised. Hoffenheim remained the team in control and most likely to get another one, however. Augsburg boss Markus Weinzierl responded on time by sending his new recruit Pepi alongside Bavarian native Florian Niederlechner. The US international, on the eve of his 19th birthday, came close to immediate impact, but was unable to transform his effort into the goal of a center from the left. Despite scoring on his USMNT debut, the teen was unable to save his new club as Hoffenheim snatched a third goal thanks to Raum, which ended the Georginio Rutter cross to make it seven unbeaten games for TSG and move them to third in the table after Freiburg also dropped points. Pepi and Augsburg slip to 16th place and instead of the relegation dams.
- Bebou had just 16 touches in the first half, but still managed a brace in the opening 45 minutes of a Bundesliga game for the first time.
- The Togo international is Hoffenheim’s top scorer with seven goals, although he has only scored in three matches.
- Gregoritsch’s three goals this season have all come in the last six days. The former TSG player has also scored his last four Bundesliga goals with his header. Eleven of his 34 top-flight goals came this way
- Augsburg had failed to score in the opening 15 minutes of games this season, but had conceded eight times.
- Hoffenheim have now collected 19 of a possible 21 points in their last seven home games.
- Pepi is the first American to play for Augsburg in the Bundesliga.
Hoffenheim: Baumann (c) – Posch, Vogt, Richards – Kaderabek (Akpoguma 37 ‘), Geiger, Baumgartner, Raum – Kramaric (Adamyan 90’) – Bebou (Stiller 72 ‘), Dabbur (Rutter 72’)
Unused subtitles: Philipp, Nordtveit, Rudy, Gacinovic, Hübner
Outside: Adams (illness), Bicakcic (not included), John (fitness match), Samassekou (Africa Cup of Nations), Skov (thigh)
Coach: Sebastian hoeneß
Augsburg: Gikiewicz – Gumny, Gouweleeuw (c) (Caligiuri 83 ‘), Uduokhai, Iago – Hahn, Maier (Moravek 67’), Dorsch, Vargas (Sarenren Bazee 67 ‘) – Gregoritsch (Niederlechner 60’), Zeqiri (Pepi 60 ‘ ))
Unused subtitles: Klein, Jensen, Winther, Framberger
Outside: Finnbogason (fitness match), Koubek (not included), Oxford (suspended), Pedersen (knee), Strobl (knee)
Coach: Markus Weinzierl