After struggling in the initial few weeks at the helm, head coach Pellegrino Matarazzo restored the confidence of Hoffenheim as the team racked up their third straight win over the weekend to push them further away from the danger of relegation from the Bundesliga.
The 45-year-old was appointed as coach in February following the firing of Andre Breitenreiter who had led the team through a serious slump that saw them fall into the relegation zone. The initial weeks did not start out well for Matarazzo as the team lost the first five games with him at the helm. Rumors even surfaced that he may be relieved of his duties early.
However, a 3-1 win over Hertha Berlin on March 18 provided some encouragement. The next game, a 2-1 victory away to Werder Bremen following the international break raised the confidence of the players and fans even more. Now, the team has extended their winning run to three games following a 2-0 shutout of last-place Schalke over the past weekend to move them five points clear from the relegation zone.
It goes without saying the New Jersey native has turned the fortunes of the team around and confidence is certainly brimming amongst the team and fans as he has finally made an impact.
“We knew that our quality would make the difference today,” said Matarazzo in an interview with SWR Sport after the game against Schalke.”You also need concentration to play football with precision, sharpness, and speed.”
After a long period in freefall mode, everything seems to be running smoothly for the Blues at the moment. However, there are still seven games left in the Bundesliga campaign, so Matarazzo will certainly not let his players become complacent.
This weekend will be a big test for the team as they head to Bavaria to face league leaders Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.