Andrej Kramaric continued his goalscoring form and Jürgen Locadia nabbed a maiden Bundesliga goal as Hoffenheim edged out Hertha Berlin 3-2 on Saturday.
Hertha 2-3 Hoffenheim
Goals: 0-1 Locadia (33'), 0-2 Kramaric (38'), 2-1 Lukebakio (55'), 2-2 Kalou (69'), 2-3 Hübner (80')
Red card: Darida (84')
Hertha came into this game with a poor record of just one win in 11 matches against Hoffenheim and, despite Vedad Ibisevic striking the post early on, the hosts were tentative throughout, especially in defence. Jürgen Locadia, on loan from English side Brighton and Hove Albion, had already had one sighter before opening his Hoffenheim account with a low strike on 33 minutes. And five minutes later Andrej Kramaric, on target last week against Schalke, headed home a second to put Alfred Schreuder's side firmly in control.
Hertha boss Ante Covic apparently found the right words at the break, however, as his players emerged a different team. Dodi Lukebakio scored for a second successive game with an acrobatic overhead effort to reduce the arrears, and Salomon Kalou levelled things with a close-range finish on 69 minutes. Hoffenheim recovered, however, and Benjamin Hübner powered in a header to make it 3-2 with ten minutes remaining. Vladimir Darida was shown a second yellow card as the home side pushed for a late equaliser, with the Sinsheimers holding on to claim the spoils and move above their hosts in the standings.
- Hoffenheim's Locadia marked his first Bundesliga start with his first goal in Germany's top flight.
- Despite appearing only twice this season, Kramaric is already Hoffenheim's joint-top scorer with two goals.
- Lukebakio has been involved in a goal in his last four league appearances (two goals, two assists)
- Hertha have won just one of their last 12 meetings with Hoffenheim, a 2-1 home success back in November 2015.
- Kalou scored his fifth Bundesliga goal as a substitute, more than any other Hertha Berlin player.
- Hertha's Javairo Dilrosun and Ibisevic have each scored a team-leading three goals this season.
Watch: Schreuder: "We're very strong mentally"
Hertha: Jarstein – Klünter, Boyata, Rekik, Plattenhardt – Skjelbred, Grujic (Duda 46') – Wolf, Darida, Lukebakio – Ibisevic (c) (Selke 82')
Unused subs: Kraft, Pekarik, Kalou, Leckie, Köpke, Dilrosun, Torunarigha
Out: Löwen (knee), Maier (knee), Stark (gashed leg)
Coach: Ante Covic
Hoffenheim: Baumann – Akpoguma, Vogt (c) (Bicakcic 60'), Hübner – Kaderabek, Rudy, Grillitsch, Rupp (Adamyan 72'), Skov – Kramaric, Locadia (Bebou 61')
Unused subs: Pentke, Brenet, Geiger, Baumgartner, Zulj, Posch
Out: Belfodil (knee), Nordtveit (rib), Ochs (ankle), Samassekou (hamstring), Zuber (foot)
Coach: Alfred Schreuder