Kerem Demirbay scored a superb opener for Hoffenheim at home to Mainz on Sunday, but Julian Nagelsmann's side were unable to hold on to their lead and were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw in the final Bundesliga game before the winter break.
Hoffenheim 1-1 Mainz
Goals: 1-0 Demirbay (11'), 1-1 Mateta (16')
The match began at breakneck pace and after a couple of half-chances at either end, Demirbay broke the deadlock in the 11th minute, receiving Steven Zuber's cutback from the right with his back to goal, before spinning around Jean-Philippe Gbamin and drilling the ball into the bottom corner. The hosts were in the ascendancy but were pegged back against the run of play when they struggled to clear a lofted free-kick into the box, with the ball eventually bobbling out to Jean-Philippe Mateta, who lashed in from 12 yards.
The pace of the game dropped after the break as the teams sought to gain a measure of control in slippery conditions, but there were still plenty of presentable openings. Ishak Belfodil had the best of them but could only hit the post in the 70th minute. The striker very nearly stole all three points in stoppage time, but once again hit an upright with a curling shot from the edge of the box. Hoffenheim will be frustrated not to have won, but a draw was arguably a fair result after an entertaining game as the league signs off for winter.
- Hoffenheim extended their unbeaten run to 10 straight Bundesliga games, but have now drawn their last six
- Demirbay's goal was his tenth in the Bundesliga, six of which have been to put his side 1-0 up, including the last four.
- Mateta, Mainz's top scorer, netted his fifth league goal of the season.
- Mainz have never lost when Mateta has scored (three wins, two draws).
- Julian Nagelsmann is unbeaten as Hoffenheim coach against Mainz (W4, D2).
- The hosts hit the woodwork four times in this match and 13 overall this season – a league high.
Hoffenheim: Baumann - Posch, Vogt (c), Hübner – Brenet (Kaderabek 73'), Grillitsch, Demirbay, Schulz (Szalai 59') - Grifo, Belfodil, Zuber (Nelson 78')
Unused subs: Stolz, Bicakcic, Amiri, Hoogma,
Out: Nordtveit (foot), Otto (foot), Rupp (knee), Amiri (foot), Bittencourt (adductor)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Mainz: Zentner - Brosinski, Bell (c), Niakhate (Hack 41'), Aaron - Gbamin, Kunde, Latza (Baku 74') – Mateta (Onisiwo 68'), Boetius, Quaison
Unused subs: Huth, Maxim, Öztunali, Ujah,
Out: Adler (knee), Mwene (knee), Berggreen (thigh), Müller (ankle)
Coach: Sandro Schwarz