Hoffenheim 1 Man City 2: Match report
What a start.
The game had barely started when Hoffenheim carved an opening as Belfodil found space between Aymeric Laporte and Nicolas Otamendi to fire a low shot past Ederson with just 44 seconds on the clock.
City’s response was superb.
First Raheem Sterling set off on a mesmerising dribble that took him past the last defender only for the England winger to lose his footing as he was about to enter the box – what a goal it would have been.
With Hoffenheim giving the Blues acres of space, it looked just a matter of time before City levelled and the only surprise was that it took seven minutes.
David Silva, given the sort of freedom he must only dream of, set Leroy Sane clear on the left and though his pass didn’t immediately find Aguero, the Argentine beat two defenders as he poked home the equaliser.
Not long after, the majestic Silva played an inch-perfect pass into the path of Sterling and as he raced into the box, his shot was deflected just wide by Baumann, the Hoffenheim keeper.
It fast, open and wonderfully entertaining.
The Blues came close again when another move orchestrated by Silva ended with Sane somehow finding his way past three challenges before the ball span up to Aguero who acrobatically volleyed inches wide.
Then Aguero curled a beauty towards the top left-hand corner from 20 yards out only for Baumann to claw the shot wide as the breathless pace of the game continued.
The hosts reminded everyone they were still very much in the game as they forced Ederson into two good saves just before the break.
Aguero fired a howitzer an inch over the bar in the last minute of the first-half after Ederson had thumped an 80-yard pass to his feet and that was that for a half nobody wanted to end.
It was perhaps to be expected that the frenetic pace went down a notch or two after the re-start and the chances were far fewer for City.
Hoffenheim almost profited from a long clearance that Ederson raced out to clear and as the ball bounced higher than he expected, the Brazilian just about managed to get enough of his head to stop the hosts racing through to score.
On 70 minutes, sub Bernardo Silva turned his marker superbly, sent in a cross and Aguero’s header was snatched on the line by Baumann.
Two minutes after that, Sane raced into the box and was felled by the arm of Baumann, but the referee waved appeals away – it looked a certain penalty – just one of a number of marginal decisions the official didn’t find in City’s favour.
But Silva had the final say, nipping ahead of a defender before drilling home the winner on 87 minutes.