English forward Reiss Nelson scored his first goal in five months to help Hoffenheim climb back into the Bundesliga's top six with a 2-0 win over Hertha Berlin.
Hoffenheim 2-0 Hertha Berlin
Goals: 1-0 Amiri (29'), 2-0 Nelson (76')
An Adam Szalai effort which skimmed the crossbar set the tone for the first half, with the hosts holding the upper hand and, after Andrej Kramaric went close and Ishak Belfodil had a goal ruled out for offside, they took the lead through Nadiem Amiri just shy of the half-hour mark. His effort from just outside the penalty area skipped past Rune Jarstein and went in off the inside of the post, to the relieved cheers of the PreZero Arena crowd. Hoffenheim sat back somewhat after finally taking the lead, however, and had it not been for the heroics of Oliver Baumann in denying Marvin Plattenhardt, they may not have held the advantage at the break.
Some stern words of warning probably passed Julian Nagelsmann's lips during the interval as his side emerged with a greater sense of urgency in the second half, creating five chances within 15 minutes to move up to 20 shots on goal within an hour, compared to Hertha's two. A second goal was overdue and it arrived when substitute Nelson rose to head in Nico Schulz's cross, with Video Assist overruling the linesman after he had raised his flag. Schulz and Kramaric almost made it three as Hoffenheim asserted their authority on the game and, with these three points, strengthened their claim for European football in Sinsheim again next season.
- Hoffenheim have taken 13 points from their last five games.
- For the first time this season, Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann named an unchanged team from one game to the next.
- Amiri scored his first Bundesliga goal of the season and first since 2 December 2017.
- Amiri became the first Hoffenheim player since Matchday 24 to score – Belfodil and Kramaric had scored 11 of their 12 goals since then, with an own goal supplying the other.
- Nelson has scored four of his seven goals this season after coming off the bench.
- Berlin-born Schulz spent 15 years at Hertha, making 52 Bundesliga appearances for the Old Lady. He has made 52 for Hoffenheim since joining the club from Borussia Mönchengladbach in summer 2017.
- Hertha have lost their last five, scoring four and conceding 14.
Hoffenheim: Baumann – Kaderabek, Vogt (c), Hübner, Schulz – Amiri (Nelson 69'), Grillitsch, Demirbay (Bittencourt 77') – Kramaric – Szalai (Bicakcic 64'), Belfodil
Unused subs: Stolz, Brenet, Posch, Baumgartner
Out: Geiger (groin), Joelinton (ankle)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Hertha: Jarstein – Klünter, Pekarik, Rekik, Plattenhardt – Skjelbred, Mittelstädt – Lazaro (Dilrosun 63'), Kalou (c), Leckie – Selke (Köpke 85')
Unused subs: Kraft, Stark, Dardai, Baak, Jastrzembski
Out: Darida (thigh), Duda (suspended), Grujic (ankle), Ibisevic (suspended), Luckassen (ankle), Lustenberger (thigh), Maier (knee), Torunarigha (ankle)
Coach: Pal Dardai