Sunday 15th August 2021
“For us not to be defended”
“Geiler Zocker” doesn’t need a goal for a hat trick
Last season, Andrej Kramaric stood out as a goal scorer, while the Hoffenheim attacker took the opposing defense apart as a preparer for the Bundesliga opener. There is praise from their own trainer, also from the Augsburg coach – and the manager talks about the contract.
Andrej Kramaric had a lot of fun even without scoring his own goal. At Hoffenheim’s 4-0 start in Augsburg, the Croatian national soccer player stood out from a closed and ultimately brutally efficient TSG collective with a special hat trick. The 30-year-old attacker could never be caught, shone on the ball, sometimes tunnelled the opponents and, as a three-time assist, led his team to the Kraichgauer’s highest victory on a first Bundesliga matchday.
“It’s great to play with him,” remarked Jacob Bruun Larsen. The Dane headed the all-important 1-0 after a precise cross from Kramaric. The big Kramaric show in front of 9,124 spectators resulted in the late goals of substitutes Sargis Adamyan (79th minute) and Georginio Rutter (87th). When Sebastian Rudy 4-0 in stoppage time, Kramaric only played the penultimate pass.
“Andrej played a great game. It’s fun with him. I would have wished him a goal too,” said the smiling Joker Adamyan. The own goal, it was denied to Kramaric on Saturday, even if he was close several times. Once the 20-goal man from the previous season even tried cheekily from 40 meters. FCA goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz steered the ball over the bar while running back.
Contract extension or exit?
“I like to avoid highlighting players in the analysis. It was simply a team effort,” said Sebastian Hoeneß. But then the TSG coach raved about his leader. “Andrej Kramaric has of course done extraordinary things with three assists. Andrej is the central figure in our game, he shows that year after year. It is obvious and clear to everyone.” And that should stay that way, Hoeneß wishes: “I experience him very positively and very committed. He identifies himself one hundred percent with what we do. That is nice to see.”
Hoeneß’s warm words are understandable. After all, Kramaric is something like life insurance for Hoffenheim. He was already the match winner in the 3-2 victory in the DFB Cup against Viktoria Köln as a two-time goalscorer. He also scored the winning goal in extra time. Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl had warned urgently about the “outstanding man” of the guests before the game. For free! “We couldn’t get Kramaric under control. We couldn’t defend him in three situations,” moaned Weinzierl. “He’s a good player, he shows it more often, not only against us, but also against the top teams,” commented FCA captain Jeffrey Gouweleeuw, who Kramaric played through his legs before the 2-0 win.
Hoeneß will be happy when August 31st is over and the summer transfer window closes. Because Kramaric is the most valuable piece in his squad. Every year the Croat is considered an object of sale. His current contract expires in 2022, then he will be free of charge. However, the EM was disappointing for Kramaric, he couldn’t stand in the shop window. And which over-30 players still change clubs for high sums of millions in Corona times?
“I don’t see the sums that you could dream of with Andrej in sales,” said TSG manager Alexander Rosen last. Kramaric has been wearing the TSG jersey since 2016, and its market value is estimated at 28 million euros. The primary goal of Hoffenheim remains a contract extension with the man whom his team-mate Bruun Larsen in Augsburg admiringly called a “great gamer”.