Sinsheim - 1899 Hoffenheim picked up their first victory of the New Year as they beat SC Freiburg 2-1 on home soil to put an end to a winless streak dating back three months.
Freiburg broke the deadlock within five minutes of kick-off through Max Kruse, but Kevin Volland's first-ever Bundesliga brace wrestled control away from Christian Streich's side as Hoffenheim rebuffed the visitors' late pressure to emerge victorious.
Heurelho Gomes and David Abraham both made their Bundesliga bows, but soon found themselves behind on their debuts. Freiburg's Max Kruse reacted quickest to seeing his initial effort parried by Gomes, pouncing on the rebound before finishing with great composure. Hoffenheim looked likely to be cast adrift by the visitors' pressing game in the fast-paced opening exchanges, but leveled the scores when Kevin Volland bundled home the 500th goal of the Bundesliga season after Roberto Firmino had struck the woodwork.
The early goals put the spice back into the Baden-Württemberg derby, with neither side resting on their laurels in a hard-fought, yet open encounter. However, the guests' determination to play out from the back cost them dearly before half-time, as Oliver Sorg concended possession, allowing Tobias Weis to tee-up Volland for his second of the afternoon, sending Hoffenheim in at the break with a lead for the first time since Matchday 5.
Freiburg came out of the dressing room with the bit between their teeth, but despite forcing Gomes to come to his side's rescue on occasion, they were overcomplicating their link-up play in the final third and allowing Hoffenheim to recover their positions all too often. The hosts were running the risk of holding a deeper line whilst seeking out their opportunities on the counter, with Igor de Camargo going close with a cheeky toe-poke.
The Black Forest outfit were dictating the pace of the game and creating all the pressure, but with Gomes providing a much-needed commanding presence in goal, Hoffenheim's backline looked a lot more secure, ensuring Freiburg stayed at arms' length. Desperate defending was the order of the day in the closing stages but with clear-cut chances at a premium, the scoreline remained the same, as 1899 put an end to a run of nine games without a win to climb out of the automatic relegation places.
Line-ups and statistics