Hanover - Mame Diouf's early goal was enough to give Hannover 96 three points against a spirited Hoffenheim in the AWD-Arena.

Marco Kurz's Hoffenheim gave a good account of themselves after conceding the goal, and dominated possession for long spells. They were unaaböe to beat Ron-Robert Zieler in the Red's goal, however, and remain in 16th place.

Defensive Frailties


Hoffenheim had gone into the game confidently after beating SC Freiburg last weekend for their first win in 2013, but their defensive vulnerabilities manifested themselves just eight minutes in as they fell behind in sloppy fashion. Szabolcs Huszti had all the time in the world to pick out a cross from the left, and after Mathieu Delpierre hesitated, Diouf beat Heurelho Gomes to the ball to head home his ninth league goal of the season.

Kurz's outfit showed a positive reaction to going behind, however, and they were arguably the better side for the remainder of the second half. Takashi Usami was his predictably busy self on the wing for the away side and his dangerous cross almost set up a leveler for Igor de Camargo. Kevin Volland and Tobias Weis then tested Ron-Robert Zieler with pot-shots from outside the box, as the home side went in at the break with a slightly fortuitous lead.

No threat from Hoffenheim


With no changes made at half-time, the patter of the game remained much the same, with Hoffenheim controlling possession and Hannover looking to catch their opponents on the break. Just before the hour-mark they constructed their best move of the match as Sofian Chahed's pass allowed Huszti a shot at goal, but the Hungarian's fizzing effort sailed wide of the post.

Disappointingly for Hoffenheim, they showed very little in the way of an attacking threat. Eugen Polanski tested Zieler from distance and Roberto Firmino had a free-kick well saved, but there looked to be no danger for a Hannover defence that had conceded eight goals in its last three matches. In a desperately frustrating last few minutes, Joselu stumbled over the ball when well positioned, ending any chance of Kurz's men taking something back with them to Sinsheim.

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