Manchester City recovered from an abysmal start to end a run of four consecutive Champions League defeats with a 2-1 victory at Hoffenheim.
Pep Guardiola's side, who suffered a 2-1 loss at home to Lyon in their Group F opener, fell behind inside 44 seconds on Tuesday.
But the Premier League champions bounced back to end the longest losing streak of an English side in the competition's history.
City, who were beaten in their last-16 second-leg clash with Basel before losing twice to Liverpool in the quarter-finals last season, quickly levelled through Sergio Aguero.
And the turnaround was completed late on courtesy of David Silva's opportunistic strike just three minutes from time.
In the first meeting between the sides, the Bundesliga outfit wasted no time in forging ahead, Ishak Belfodil coolly converting following Kerem Demirbay's throughball.
But that stung the visitors into life and when Silva deftly picked out Leroy Sane, the former Schalke star squared for Aguero – who overcame a foot injury to retain his place – to tap home.
Raheem Sterling was denied by Oliver Baumann at the end of a strong run and Aguero volleyed over on the stretch after excellent trickery from Sane, with City piling on the pressure.
Baumann produced a stunning one-handed stop to thwart Aguero again before the break, but the hosts regained a foothold in the second half.
For the opening 25 minutes, Julian Nagelsmann's side contained City without managing to create much for themselves.
Sane had a strong shout for a penalty waved away when he took a tumble in the box after Baumann rushed out to meet him.
But City finally got the winner after Stefan Posch was caught dallying inside the area, allowing Silva to find the bottom-right corner with typical assuredness.
What does it mean: City's bid for European glory back on track
It may be a stretch to say the loss to Lyon had derailed City's bid for the most sought-after trophy in European football, but it certainly cast further doubts over their pedigree in this tournament. With this result, City will be feeling a lot brighter about their prospects.
Sane shines on home soil
It was an impressive showing from Sane, who had Hoffenheim running scared practically every time he got the ball. His attitude has at times been questioned, but his quality is not in doubt.
Away-day defensive woes return
The rude awakening City endured offered another timely reminder of their frailties in away Champions League matches. In their last 17 road trips in the competition, City have kept only two clean sheets. It is a tough enough trophy to win without starting every away game a goal down.
Key Opta facts
- Manchester City are unbeaten in their last six Champions League games against German opponents (W5 D1).
- Hoffenheim have won just one of their previous 10 matches in European competition (D3 L6).
- Sergio Aguero became just the second player to score in five consecutive away Champions League appearances for an English team after Ruud van Nistelrooy for Manchester United in 2003.
- Five of David Silva's six Champions League goals for City have come against German opposition.
Guardiola's side travel to Anfield for a mouth-watering clash with Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool on Sunday, with both sides unbeaten in the league this season. Hoffenheim, meanwhile, host Eintracht Frankfurt on the same day, seeking to climb the Bundesliga table after a sluggish start.
FULL TIME: Hoffenheim 1-2 Manchester City
But there’s no time for the home side to put anything together, and the whistle goes! City get their Champions League campaign up and running. And deservedly so: they were the better team tonight, dominating the match ... though they left it late!
90 min +4: Sane has a lash from distance. It’s miles over the bar, and allows Hoffenheim the chance to launch one Hail Mary attack. Before that happens, Aguero is booked for kicking the ball away.
90 min +3: Aguero races after a long ball on the break. Baumann comes out of his goal and can’t intercept. Aguero rounds him on the left, but though the goal is unguarded, he’s right on the touchline and miles from goal. He shanks his effort wide left.
90 min +2: Joelinton bustles his way past Mahrez on the left and enters the City box. But the ball he then delivers is neither cross nor pullback, and City close the door.
90 min: Bittencourt has a dig from distance. It’s nowhere near. There will be four added minutes.
89 min: Hack comes on for Demirbay. The home fans are stunned. City had been pressing, but were looking at the end of their tether. Then a sensational smash-and-grab by Silva!
GOAL! Hoffenheim 1-2 Manchester City (Silva 87)
Just as it looks like being a frustrating evening for City, Silva sniffs out a goal from nothing! Sane whips in a cross from the left. Posch should clear, but he chests down, assuming he’s got more time than he has. Nope! Silva nips in from his right and steals the dropping ball, then slams it across Baumann and into the bottom right! What a mistake by Posch, but what livewire brilliance by Silva!
86 min: Kramaric threatens to burst into the City box from the right, but Stones and Ederson combine to put a stop to his gallop.
85 min: Mahrez turns on the jets and makes ground down the right. But his cross flies straight down the throat of the well-positioned Baumann.
84 min: City come straight back at Hoffenheim, the brilliant Sane earning a corner down the left with another audacious dribble. The set piece comes to nothing.
83 min: Silva is knocked over 35 yards from goal. Free kick. Mahrez loops it down the inside-right channel, hoping Kompany can get a head on it, but the ball’s cleared.
82 min: Bittencourt comes on for Grillitsch.
81 min: City are dominating possession again. Hoffenheim are sitting back, hoping to see this out for a draw and a precious point against one of the favourites for this competition. They look very solid. But there’s still a long way to go against this relentless City side.
79 min: A scintillating run by Sane, who fizzes his way to the byline on the left, then pulls the ball back for a certain goal. But somehow the ball evades Aguero, Mahrez and David Silva, as well as all the defenders, and harmlessly dribbles off towards the right touchline. How did he manage to thread the ball through that thicket?! Very odd; do that another 99 times, and it’s a pinball game every time.
78 min: Joelinton bundles Augero to the ground near the left-hand corner flag. Sane’s free kick is dreadful, a pea-roller that’s easily hacked back upfield.
77 min: On the touchline, Pep holds his head in his hands, a study in frustration. City haven’t forced Baumann into serious action in this half.
75 min: Sterling is replaced by Mahrez.
73 min: Sane goes racing after a Bernardo Silva pass down the inside-left channel. He’s clear in the area. Baumann comes out and spreads himself. And Sane goes over him. That looks a clear penalty, the keeper having got nowhere near the ball, but the referee doesn’t give it. Sane is genuinely puzzled. I wonder if his effort to stay on his feet as he went over the keeper counted against him?
72 min: Bernardo Silva slips and slithers his way past Kaderabek on the left. He strides into the area and chips to the far post for Aguero, who heads goalwards from six yards. But there’s no power on the header, and Baumann gets across to claim with ease. A real chance, that, and a sensational run by Bernardo Silva.
70 min: City flick the ball around stylishly, but the gaps aren’t opening up in the Hoffenheim defence in this half. Eventually they get closed down: Aguero is barged off the ball, Sterling hustled out of it. The hosts are much improved in this second period.
68 min: Gundogan appears to have pulled a hamstring. He’s holding the back of his right leg, anyway, and frowning quite a lot. On comes Bernardo Silva in his wake.
66 min: Walker is booked for a hefty challenge on Kaderabek. His studs were showing there, and for a second he was flying through the air in the uncontrolled style. But he pulled back at the very last second, which might have saved his bacon.
64 min: Otamendi is replaced by Stones, Guardiola responding to Hoffenheim’s big improvement since the brea
62 min: Demirbay curls the free kick into the mixer, forcing Laporte to slap the ball out for a corner on the right.
61 min: Demirbay looks to release Kaderabek down the inside-left channel. Kompany is forced to bump Kaderabek to the ground in the professional style. He escapees a booking, but that’ll be a free kick 35 yards from the City goal.
59 min: Silva is upended as he meanders down the left. A free kick. Silva sends it long. Otamendi rises at the far post, and plants a header on target ... but it’s deflected over the bar for a corner. From the set piece, Fernandinho has a dig from distance. It’s gathered by Baumann, who immediately launches long for Belfodil. And he’s clear, chasing the long pass! Ederson comes haring out of his goal, hoping to clear, but misjudges the bounce. Thankfully for City, Sane has tracked back, and is able to make a challenge and clear the danger. But for a second, the goal was wide open for Hoffenheim!
57 min: Demirbay is booked for a cynical clip on Silva.
56 min: City ping it around awhile, then lose possession carelessly. Suddenly Hoffenheim break quickly, and Belfodil is stopped in his tracks unfairly. A free kick, and a chance for the hosts to load the City box. The set piece comes to nothing, but City have occasionally looked wide open at the back; a sharper team than Hoffenheim might have caused them a few more problems.
54 min: The first change of the evening, as Kramaric replaces Szalai.
53 min: Sane sends a poor pass wide left towards Laporte. Brenet should intercept. But his challenge is tissue-paper weak, and Laporte breaks through it. Laporte reaches the byline, and fires to the near post for Silva, who tries to flick home but can only hoick it wide.
51 min: Kompany sashays forward in the style of Franz Beckenbauer, then slides a pass to Silva, who is very close to flicking Sane free down the left. City have enjoyed 69% of the possession so far; this is more of the same.
49 min: City draw a little sting from the game, stroking it around the middle, lest Hoffenheim build up a head of steam.
47 min: But once again Hoffenheim start the half strongly, with Belfodil sent into acres of space down the right. His ball across the middle might have been a cross, it might have been a shot. But the danger’s cleared. However the hosts come straight back at City, Grillitsch striding down the middle and unleashing a rising ripper that very nearly nestles in the top-right corner. Just over, and I think Ederson might have had it covered. But it was close.
And we’re off again! No changes. City get the ball rolling for the second half, and get through the first 43 seconds unscathed this time.
HALF TIME: Hoffenheim 1-1 Manchester City
I have no idea how there were no goals in the final 37 minutes of that half. Glorious entertainment. City look the business tonight.
45 min: Walker blazes down the right and whistles a ball along the corridor of uncertainty. Aguero isn’t able to get into the area quickly enough, and the cross flies out on the other side. “How’s Joelinton doing?” It’s Mac Millings again. “Putting a shift in? Because if he’s anything like my pal Joe Linton, he’ll more likely have nipped round the back of the school for a couple of Benson & Hedges, or maybe even a quick toot on a jazz cigarette.”
43 min: BREAKING NEWS. David Silva misplaces a pass. To repeat: David Silva misplaces a pass.
42 min: Aguero cuts in from the left and pearls a riser towards the top left. It’s inches over the bar. I think Baumann might have been able to fingertip that over, had it been on target, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.
41 min: Sane glides in from the left, then sends the ball wide right for Sterling, who crosses it back towards Silva. City’s movement is sensational. Hoffenheim are constantly having to make last-ditch interventions. Not sure how long they can keep it up.
39 min: A dismal Laporte backpass allows Belfodil in down the right. He enters the area and slams a shot straight at Ederson, who parries. Within seconds, Aguero’s in space down the right; his chipped cross very nearly finds Sane clear on the penalty spot, but Akpoguma eyebrows it away from the City winger.
38 min: Sane dribbles at trademark speed down the left. He nearly opens Hoffenheim up, but Hoogma ushers him away from the danger zone.
36 min: Fernandinho is booked for a cynical block on Demirbay. A moment before, Laporte was very fortunate to escape censure for a blatant tug on the same player. In between times, Joelinton fires a low cross into the City box from the right; it makes it all the way through to Ederson, who gathers. Had his team-mates been on the front foot then, City could have been in a spot of bother.
35 min: Aguero isn’t the sort to let his head drop, and now he dances down the inside-left channel, makes a bit of space and time for himself, and sends a curler towards the top right. It’s going in all the way, but Baumann fingertips it out of the corner at the very last moment. What an effort, what a save!
33 min: Silva and Sane take turns to dribble with Garrincha-esque glee at their hosts. It’s sensational ball-on-string stuff. Sane throws in a dragback. Then the ball breaks right for Aguero, who shapes and tries to whack a volley home from 12 yards. The ball flies wide left. It would have been a stunning strike, it was hardly an easy chance; it’s testament to Aguero’s quality that for him, that counts as a miss.
31 min: Silva is down, holding his left leg and his head at the same time. He was clipped to the ground by Demirbay, but there didn’t seem much in it. He’s up and about again soon enough.
30 min: Yet another corner for City, who are really turning the screw now. Kompany flashes a header straight at Baumann; he’s penalised for pushing anyway.
28 min: A strange decision here, as Silva takes a quick throw to release Sane on the left. The referee pulls it back for ... well, what exactly? City still have the throw. But now they’ll not get the benefit of Silva and Sane’s quick thinking. Pep is furious, and comes to the touchline for a passionate debate with the referee. Everyone simmers down soon enough. But you can understand Guardiola’s irritation.
27 min: A corner on the right. Gundogan and Silva work it short, then it’s hit long for Kompany at the far post. Another corner. Baumann manages to fist that one away. But the ball keeps coming back at Hoffenheim. They’re pinned back in their final third.
25 min: More City-taka. Then suddenly a burst of energy as Walker offers himself to Sterling on the overlap down the right. The pass is good ... but so is Kaderabek’s defending. The danger’s snuffed out.
23 min: A little period of possession for Hoffenheim. They can’t build an attack, but that’s not really the point; respite is enough at the minute.
21 min: City have responded so well to that early setback. It was the quickest goal they’ve ever conceded in the Champions League, but they’re well on top now. More patient passing earns another corner, on the right; Gundogan’s delivery is cleared. But they’re looking likely to score every time they go forward.
19 min: Sterling, Sane and Silva take turns to run at Hoffenheim on the break. Silva makes it as far as the byline to the right of goal, but the move fizzles out. But City are looking sensational on the break. They look at their most dangerous whenever Hoffenheim commit men forward.
17 min: The set piece is whipped into the box. Otamendi rises highest, but his header, meant for the top right, is deflected out for another corner. Nothing happens from the second set piece.
15 min: Szalai dinks a pass into acres of space down the left, Kaderabek homing in on goal. But his control isn’t all that, he opts to cross low instead, and he’s dispossessed. City stream up the other end, Sterling romping down the right with great purpose. He enters the area, draws Baumann, but his low shot is deflected off the keeper and out for a corner on the left.
13 min: Silva is conducting the midfield. A glorious rake down the left releases Gundogan into space, but Hoffenheim manage to hustle him away from the area.
12 min: Otamendi is booked for coming through the back of Szalai. A pointless challenge with his opponent going nowhere.
11 min: Kaderabeck bursts down the left and nearly gets the better of Walker. Nearly, but not quite. He goes over in the area, claiming a penalty, but the ref’s not fooled.
9 min: That’s a fine response by City. They refused to panic after that shocking start, and cool heads got their reward. Silva dissected the hosts calmly there. Meanwhile here’s David Flynn: “Pep is very much in the image of a late-era Ballard villain, suave and energetic, full of new ideas and slight regard for the cultural norms, his magnetic personality dragging once dead communities to exciting new heights. So if City’s training centre mysteriously burns down or they find a dead dog in the rehab pool we’ll know who to point the finger at.”
GOAL! Hoffenheim 1-1 Manchester City (Aguero 7)
A bit of possession for City. Pass, pass, patient pass. Suddenly Silva bursts into a little space in the middle of the park, then slips a ball down the left channel for Sane, who is clear in the box. He draws Baumann, then instead of shooting cuts back for Aguero, who pokes home as several discombobulated Hoffenheim defenders fall backwards on their arse.
5 min: Joelinton finds a bit of space down the right, and whips low and hard into the box. Ederson gathers well under a bit of pressure. City go up the other end, Sterling skedaddling down the middle and nearly breaking free. But he trips over his own twinkling toes. He demands a free kick, but he’s not getting one.
3 min: Well that’s quite a start to your very first home match in the Champions League! City look shell-shocked. Aguero tries to get something going for the visitors, sending a speculative effort wide left from distance.
GOAL! Hoffenheim 1-0 Manchester City (Belfodil 43 sec)
The hosts take the lead after 43 seconds! And it’s so simple! From a throw on the right, Demirbay slips a pass down the inside-right channel, setting Belfodil clear! He takes a step into the area, draws Ederson, and slips the ball under the keeper and into the net!
The hosts get the ball rolling! “Is there really a footballer called Joelinton, or have you made him up?” asks Mac Millings. “I only ask because I went to school with a lad called Joe Linton - is the Hoffenheim player named after him, in the Ronaldo/Ronaldinho style? If so, is it because he’s rubbish at football? Because my old mate Joe Linton was bloody awful.” We’ll soon find out what’s going on here.
The teams are out! The hosts are in their first-choice blue, forcing the English champions into very eye-catching purple shirts with an orange sash. And neon orange shorts. It sounds much worse than it is; it’s a lovely kit. We’ll be off in a minute, once the City fans have had the chance to boo the Uefa anthem.
Pep talks! “Everybody wants to win in the Champions League, the most fascinating competition, the toughest one. We are going to try to do a good game. We try to take the best decisions as possible day to day, people who deserve to play do not play. I decided with this line-up, Sergio with his experience, that is why. He is 100 percent fit. Hoffenheim is new in the competition. I lived here in Germany, I know how complicated it is to play away here. Home is always tough, you can imagine how complicated it is to play away!”
Hoffenheim make three changes to the team that lost 2-1 at home to RB Leipzig at the weekend. Leonardo Bittencourt and Andrej Kramaric drop to the bench, while Nico Schulz misses out altogether. Joshua Brenet, Kerem Demirbay and Joelinton take their places.
Sergio Aguero, who has been nursing a sore foot, starts for Manchester City. Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan are the only two changes to the team named for the weekend’s 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion, with Oleksadr Zinchenko and Bernardo Silva dropping to the bench.
Hoffenheim: Baumann, Akpoguma, Hoogma, Posch, Kaderabek, Grillitsch, Brenet, Szalai, Demirbay, Belfodil, Joelinton.
Subs: Kobel, Nelson, Bittencourt, Kramaric, Grifo, Hack, Amade.
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Otamendi, Gundogan, Fernandinho, Silva, Sane, Aguero, Sterling.
Subs: Muric, Danilo, Stones, Bernardo Silva, Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Zinchenko.
Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia).