Max Kruse extended his perfect penalty record before setting up goals for Joel Pohjanpalo and Cedric Teuchert as Union Berlin beat ten-man Hoffenheim in Sinsheim.
Both sides could and perhaps should have had a goal within the first 20 minutes. Dabbur went close for Hoffenheim, beating Andreas Luthe in a one-on-one situation only to see Robin Knoche scamper in behind his goalkeeper to clear off the line; Dabbur could not find the target with a second bite of the cherry on the rebound. At the other end Taiwo Awoniyi sent a Kruse corner over the crossbar from point-blank range with Union's first big opportunity. There were a few more chances late on in the half, after a slight lull in proceedings, with Oliver Baumann making a great save with his left leg to deny Sebastian Griesback from close range, after Kruse had picked the midfielder out in space at the far post. Not wanting to be outdone, Luthe made a remarkable one-armed save at the other end to turn Dabbur's header behind as the first half somehow ended goalless.
After frights at both ends, it was perhaps understandable that caution became the buzzword at the start of the second 45 minutes. Chances were at a premium until Griesbeck was sent through on goal by Awoniyi and prepared to pull the trigger, only to be bundled over by first-half substitute Robert Skov, who was shown the red card. Kruse underlined his penalty prowess to stroke the resultant spot-kick home. The 32-year-old then tested Baumann on his weaker right foot, drawing a save out of the Hoffenheim No1, but the ten-man hosts were not going to accept defeat so easily. Dabbur had missed a couple of first-half chances, but it was a case of third time lucky as he drilled an effort into the roof of the net with his last kick of the game. It was not the final say, though. Pohjanpalo met Kruse's cross at the far post and scrambled the ball in, with the help of Baumann, to give the guests the lead again, before Kruse supplied his second assist of the evening to allow Teuchert to seal victory with the very last kick of the game.
- Berlin had three players making their first starts of the season: Julian Ryerson, Griesbeck and Florian Hübner.
- Kruse has taken 15 penalties in the Bundesliga and converted all 15. Only Hans-Joachim Abel (16) boasts a better rate of penalty perfection.
- The German forward has scored more goals against Hoffenheim than any other Bundesliga club (eight in 15 meetings).
- Skov saw red for the first time in the Bundesliga, in his 36th appearance.
- Five consecutive Bundesliga matches without defeat is a new club record for Union.
- All nine of Pohjanpalo's Bundesliga goals have come as a substitute.
Watch: Kruse: "I'm not thinking about penalty record"
Hoffenheim: Baumann - Posch (Skov 34'), Vogt, Akpoguma - Rudy, Samassekou, Grillitsch (Gacinovic 81'), Sessegnon - Geiger (Baumgartner 62') - Belfodil (Adamyan 62'), Dabbur (Klauss 81')
Unused subs: Pentke, Brenet, Nordtveit, Bebou
Out: Adams (not included), Bicakcic (knee), Hübner (ankle), Kaderabek (not included), Kramaric (not included), Stafylidis (shoulder)
Coach: Sebastian Hoeneß
Union: Luthe - Friedrich, Hübner, Knoche - Ryerson (Gießelmann 87'), Andrich, Griesbeck (Bülter 87'), Lenz - Gentner (Teuchert 83') - Awoniyi (Pohjanpalo 77'), Kruse
Unused subs: Moser, Gogia, Endo, Becker, Maciejewski
Out: Karius (foot), Schlotterbeck (hamstring), Trimmel (not included), Ujah (knee)
Coach: Urs Fischer
Watch: Sessegnon: "I've settled very quickly"
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