Munas Dabbur scored a second-half brace to keep Hoffenheim’s hopes of European qualification alive in a 3-1 win away to Augsburg.
The stakes were high at kick-off, with the hosts looking to secure their Bundesliga survival, while Hoffenheim were keen to close the gap on Wolfsburg in sixth. Chances were hard to come by in a fiercely contested encounter, with Jacob Bruun Larsen narrowly failing to get a toe on Pavel Kaderabek’s inviting right-wing cross, before Philipp Max dragged a shot just wide of the post at the other end of the pitch. The best opening of the first half arrived shortly before the interval when Christoph Baumgartner got his head on Sebastian Rudy’s right-wing cross, but Andreas Luthe just managed to tip it onto the crossbar at full stretch.
There was more of the same initially in the second half, as hefty midfield tackles dominated proceedings, but the match opened up after Dabbur broke the deadlock, cleverly flicking in Kaderabek’s cross from the right. The Israeli forward doubled his tally just three minutes later, firing in on the rebound after Ihlas Bebou’s header had hit the crossbar. Augsburg reacted by bringing on two attackers in Florian Niederlechner and Marco Richter, and the reshuffle soon paid off as Ruben Vargas reduced the deficit with a brilliant near-post glancing header from a corner. Hoffenheim substitute Maximilian Beier could have put the game to bed in the closing stages after being sent through by Bebou, but the 17-year-old’s shot cannoned off the crossbar. It mattered little in the end though, as Bebou bundled the ball over the line from close range late on to seal three vital points for the visitors.
- Dabbur has scored all three of his Bundesliga goals away from home.
- Hoffenheim hit the frame of the goal four times in this game, a season-high record in the top flight.
- Vargas scored with Augsburg's first shot on goal in the second half.
- It was the Swiss attacker's first goal from a set-piece and it ended his 11-game scoring drought.
- Die Kraichgauer have won on each of their last five trips to the WWK Arena. Their last defeat there came back in February 2015, the season Augsburg finished fifth.
- Augsburg have been in the top-flight uninterrupted since their promotion in 2011. Their highest finish was fifth in 2014/15.
Watch: Dabbur: "No time to celebrate"
Augsburg: Luthe - Lichtsteiner (Richter 65'), Gouweleeuw, Suchy, Jedvaj (Framberger 83') - Baier (c) (Hahn 83'), Gruezo - Vargas, Löwen, Max (Oxford 83') - Finnbogason (Niederlechner 65')
Unused subs: Koubek, Khedira, Sarenren Bazee, Uduokhai
Out: Cordova (muscular), Giefer (foot), Iago (muscular), Jensen (match fitness), Moravek (muscular)
Coach: Heiko Herrlich
Hoffenheim: Baumann - Posch, Grillitsch, Hübner (c) - Kaderabek, Rudy (Zuber 90'), Samassekou, Bruun Larsen (Bebou 54') - Skov (Bicakcic 90'), Baumgartner (Kramaric 46') - Dabbur (Beier 73')
Unused subs: Pentke, Stafylidis, Akpoguma, Ribeiro,
Out: Adamyan (ankle), Belfodil (knee)