Hertha and Hoffenheim bow out of Europa League with defeats

On the night that Köln beat Arsenal, the two other German sides were beaten on the Iberian Peninsula to end their hopes of progression.

Hertha and Hoffenheim bow out of Europa League with defeats
Hertha after their defeat to Athletic Club. | Photo: Jan-Philipp Burmann/City-Press/Getty Images.

Despite 1. FC Köln keeping their European hopes alive with a win over Arsenal, the other two German sides in the UEFA Europa League have both been knocked out with a game to spare.

Hertha BSC were beaten in an entertaining match against Athletic Club in an early kick-off, before TSG 1899 Hoffenheim were beaten by two late Fransérgio for SC Braga.

Leckie and Selke goals not enough

Hertha took the lead twice in the first half in Bilbao. Mathew Leckie put them ahead 25 minutes in, as he headed in a cross from Maximilian Mittelstädt.

Sebastian Langkamp then conceded what would be the first penalty of the evening after bringing down Iñaki Williams. That was converted by Aritz Aduriz, however exactly a minute later David Selke put them in front again, another header for the Berliners.

In the second half, Athletic had another penalty after a handball from Langkamp, and once again Aduriz scored from the spot. Hertha’s fate was sealed by an electric break eight minutes from time, with Williams finishing off the move.

The defeat leaves Pál Dárdai’s side four points behind second-placed Athletic, who will play Zorya Luhansk in a straight shootout for the knockout stages. Swedish minnows Östersunds FK qualified with a 2-0 win over Zorya.

Uth equaliser proves in vain

Hoffenheim got off to the worst possible start in Portugal, as Marcelo Goiano put Braga ahead just 44 seconds in. A cross from João Carlos Teixeira was initially cleared by Nico Schulz but the Brazilian defender fired in the rebound from the edge of the box.

After the half-time break, Hoffenheim had a plethora of chances to equalise with Serge Gnabry missing with the goal gaping and Mark Uth just about denied by goalkeeper Matheus. Uth did eventually bring them level though, firing in Kerem Demirbay’s free-kick on the volley.

With Ludogorets Razgrad losing to İstanbul Başakşehir in the other game in Group C, a draw would have been enough for the German side to still have a chance of qualifying, but it was not to be. With nine minutes left Fransérgio scored from Ricardo Esgaio’s cross, before scoring from considerable distance in stoppage time as Hoffenheim were caught in possession and Oliver Baumann out of his goal.

Hoffenheim’s first European campaign will end at home to Ludogorets in 14 days’ time, and to compound their misery here, Ádám Szalai was then sent off deep into the six added minutes for an elbow on Ricardo Ferreira, in clear sight of referee Andre Marriner.