Andrej Kramaric became Hoffenheim's record goalscorer and Ishak Belfodil struck twice as Hoffenheim boosted their top-six ambitions with their second 4-1 win of the season over fellow European hopefuls Bayer Leverkusen.
Goals: 1-0 Belfodil (10’), 1-1 Volland (17’), 2-1 S. Bender (og 51’), 3-1 Belfodil (61’), 4-1 Kramaric (79’)
Leverkusen attacked hard and fast in the opening exchanges as Kevin Volland went within a whisker of applying the finishing touch to Leon Bailey’s cute back-post cross. Hoffenheim had been on the back foot, but broke the deadlock against the run of play when Belfodil slammed in from the edge of the box after a fine bit of play in the build-up from Andrej Kramaric. Volland headed in a Julian Brandt cross to level soon after, before passing up a gilt-edged opportunity to double his tally from close range. Lukas Hradecky thwarted Kramaric, and Belfodil had an effort ruled out for offside towards the end of a pulsating first half which also saw two enforced substitutions for the away side, with Karim Bellarabi and captain Lars Bender both going off injured.
Hoffenheim lost Brazilian striker Joelinton to an ankle problem soon after the restart, but his replacement Nadiem Amiri didn’t hang about. Exchanging passes with Pavel Kaderabek, the 22-year-old strode into the Leverkusen box unchecked before driving home with the aid of a Sven Bender deflection to restore the home side’s lead. Mitchell Weiser tested Baumann, but was left wanting defensively just past the hour mark as Belfodil collected Florian Grillitsch’s long pass, ghosted inside of the Leverkusen full-back and swept low into the bottom corner for his second of the night. The former Werder Bremen striker thought he'd completed his hat-trick with 11 minutes to go, but Kramaric got the final touch at the end of a lightning-quick breakaway to become Hoffenheim's record Bundesliga scorer. The result moves Julian Nagelsmann's side to within a point of Leverkusen and the European places.
- Kramaric's goal was his 47th for Hoffenheim, seeing him overtake Sejad Salihovic as the club's record Bundesliga goalscorer.
- Belfodil has scored 10 Bundesliga goals this season, including two braces and a hat-trick.
- The Algerian striker has netted six goals in his last seven league matches.
- Bender scored his first own goal as a Leverkusen player and only second of his Bundesliga career.
- Amiri scored with his first touches. Four of his nine Bundesliga goals have come as a substitute.
- Volland has scored six Bundesliga goals in 2019. Only Robert Lewandowski and Kramaric (both eight) have found the net more often during the second of the season.
Hoffenheim: Baumann - Grillitsch, Vogt (c), Hübner - Kaderabek, Bittencourt (Otto 74'), Demirbay, Brenet - Kramaric - Belfodil (Bicakcic 85'), Joelinton (Amiri 51')
Unused subs: Stolz, Posch, Adams, Baumgartner
Out: Geiger (groin), Nelson (thigh), Schulz (suspended), Szalai (knock)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Leverkusen: Hradecky – L. Bender (c) (Weiser 36'), Tah, S. Bender, Jedvaj – Havertz, Baumgartlinger, Brandt – Bellarabi (Aranguiz 26'), Volland, Bailey (Alario 80')
Unused subs: Özcan, Dragovic, Aranguiz, Kohr, Paulinho
Out: Wendell (suspended)
Coach: Peter Bosz
Watch: Kramaric on breaking the Hoffenheim scoring record