Bundesliga roundup: Hoffenheim Blau past calamitous Hertha, Schalke save it late

Bundesliga roundup: Hoffenheim Blau past calamitous Hertha, Schalke save it late
Despite Dabbur's cameo ended by a red card, Hoffenheim eased to their win
Despite Dabbur's cameo ended by a red card, Hoffenheim eased to their win
Two first-half penalties from Andrej Kramarić helped TSG 1899 Hoffenheim defeat relegation rivals Hertha BSC to climb from the foot of the Bundesliga table after a dismal run of five consecutive defeats.

Hoffenheim - Hertha 3-1

Looking to improve on the Bundesliga’s worst home record of just three wins in 12 ahead of kick-off, Hoffenheim began the game on the front foot. Der Blau created the first real opening when neat footwork from Kramarić allowed him the space to loft a teasing ball into the Hertha area. The Croatian remained in the thick of the action, controlling a raking long ball on his chest before firing a volley down the throat of Oliver Christensen. Yet moments later, Kramarić was wheeling off in celebration, dispatching a spot-kick following a Tolga Ciğerci handball. Chances were proving hard to come by for the visitors, and Filip Uremović gave his side a mountain to climb with HT approaching, bundling over Ihlas Bebou to allow Kramarić to double his tally from the spot.

The start of the second period provided plenty of drama. Dodi Lukebakio came inches away from halving the deficit for Hertha, but Oliver Baumann was equal to the header, pushing the effort onto Robert Skov’s arm to ignite furious penalty appeals. With Hertha players still feeling aggrieved, the contest was all but put to bed by Bebou, who breezed past two defenders before tucking past Christensen for 3-0. Hoffenheim were showing no signs of let-up with 20 minutes remaining, but a reckless challenge and subsequent red card for substitute Mu'nas Dabbur threatened to derail them.

A defensive mix-up allowed Stevan Jovetić to net a late consolation, yet Hoffenheim held on, having now lost just twice in their last 15 H2Hs. Meanwhile, four points from a possible 36 during their league travels perfectly illustrates Hertha’s struggles as Die Alte Dame slip to 16th in the Bundesliga.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Andrej Kramarić (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim)

Augsburg - Schalke 1-1

Safety is inching ever closer for Augsburg, and a home game against struggling Schalke seemingly represented the perfect opportunity to put more daylight between themselves and the bottom-three. Mërgim Berisha spurned a glorious opportunity to hand Augsburg an early advantage, but his header grazed the crossbar in what was undoubtedly the best chance of the early stages. Schalke are no pushovers of late though, but they were finding it difficult to assert any sort of authority on this clash as they seek to lift themselves off the foot of the table.

It was otherwise a pretty drab half besides that sole Berisha chance, with plenty of huff and puff, but little by way of cutting edge in the final third. That lack of attacking intent was the story of the first half, but Arne Maier ensured that wouldn’t be the case after the break when he latched onto Ermedin Demirović’s deft ball to fire the hosts into a deserved lead, though that optimism was only short lived.

No sooner had he been involved in the opening goal, Demirović was to play no further part in the rest of the game, as a moment of madness where he kicked out at Tom Krauß saw the Augsburg man receive his marching orders as they faced the prospect of seeing out the game a man light. Schalke’s initial reaction to gaining a numerical advantage was muted though, with the visitors still struggling to cut through a dogged Augsburg rearguard.

Simon Terodde looked to have spurned Schalke’s best chance of snatching an equaliser when he rifled narrowly wide of the upright as their three match unbeaten away run ebbed closer to grinding to a halt. There was a late sting in the tale though, with Schalke earning a late penalty which Marius Bülter duly converted to end Augsburg’s perfect home league record in 2023 and lift Schalke off the foot of the table and to within a point of safety.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Arne Engels (Augsburg)

Bochum - Leipzig 1-0

Marco Rose’s men returned to Bundesliga action looking to put their 7-0 defeat to Manchester City firmly behind them, and perhaps the scars of that humbling were on show in a cautious first half display. Neither side managed a shot on target before the interval, with Timo Werner missing the visitors’ best opportunity, striking high over the bar after Dominik Szoboszlai’s cutback.

After a solid defensive display in the first half, Bochum started the second period on the front foot and capitalised on sloppy Leipzig defending to break the deadlock. Die Roten Bullen failed to clear their lines from a set-piece, and although Janis Blaswich denied Takuma Asano’s initial header, Erhan Mašović nodded home the rebound. The Serbian’s goalscoring exploits are truly remarkable, netting four times in seven Bundesliga appearances after failing to score in his first six years as a senior professional.

The hosts were buoyed by that goal, and came close to doubling their advantage through Asano, but the Japanese international fired over after Christopher Antwi-Adjei’s delivery. Inevitably, pressure came at the other end as the visitors looked to forge a path back into the contest, but Thomas Letsch’s men held firm, thanks to stoppage time heroics from Manuel Riemann to deny Dani Olmo and Willi Orbán from close range. The loss leaves the Red Bulls seven points adrift of Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich, with their title chances all but ended having also played a game more than the Rekordmeister.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Erhan Mašović (Bochum)

Stuttgart - Wolfsburg 0-1

With just one win in their last seven Bundesliga matches before this game, Die Wölfe’s season appeared to be fizzling out, with a European push looking increasingly unlikely. They started this one brightly though, as they looked to get the better of Bruno Labbadia’s relegation-battling Stuttgart side for the second time this season, after a 3-2 triumph at Volkswagen Arena in October.

The visitors had a clear chance to take the lead after Paulo Otávio’s sweeping through-ball split open the Stuttgart defence. Jakub Kamiński latched onto the ball and tried to curl it past Fabian Bredlow, but the goalkeeper was equal to it with a smart save. Die Schwaben, donning their special rainbow-coloured ‘diversity’ kit instead of their traditional red and white, worked hard, but Gil Dias’ saved long-range drive was the best they were able to show for a quiet first half.

The game was looking short of chances, but Wolfsburg didn’t need a clear-cut opportunity to take the lead as Omar Marmoush fired in in the game’s opener early in the second period. Having collected the ball in midfield, the former Stuttgart marksman arrowed an unstoppable strike into the bottom corner from well outside the area. Having opened his account against his former employers, the Egyptian was hungry for more, and almost turned creator when Kevin Paredes had the ball in the net, but the offside flag was on hand to save Stuttgart’s blushes.

An increasingly frustrated home crowd beckoned their team to produce some excitement in attack, but aside from some half-hearted claims for handball against Sebastiaan Bornauw, there was very little for Stuttgart to shout about in the opposing box. Wolfsburg saw out the narrow victory, and go into the international break with a small boost, while other results mean the home side drop into the automatic relegation places.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Omar Marmoush (Wolfsburg)


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