Sinsheim - 1899 Hoffenheim were unable to make it three wins from three, after playing out a goalless draw with bottom club FC Augsburg on Saturday.
There was nothing to choose between the two clubs, with second-half substitute Sejad Salihovic's 88th-minute red card the sole flashpoint of a drab contest in Sinsheim.
With the fans united in their thoughts at kick-off for 1899 Hoffenheim's Boris Vukcevic, who suffered life-threatening injuries in a road crash on Friday afternoon, the game understandably took a while to get going.
Slowly but surely, though, Hoffenheim began to find their stride as Takashi Usami sent a rising drive narrowly past the post from 20 yards. As the hosts turned the screw, it was no surprise to see roving left-back Fabian Johnson heavily involved, with only Jan Moravek's intervention preventing the American's cross from finding the head of Joselu.
Augsburg flew out of the second-half blocks, but the linesman's flag was on hand to deny Moravek as he honed in on Koen Casteels' goal. Little by way of scoring chances followed as the two sides dug their heels in, unwilling to give each other an inch in the respective final thirds of the field.
Both coaches must have sensed the points were there for the taking, but neither the introduction of Hoffenheim's Salihovic nor Augsburg's Aristide Bance managed to raise the standard. Indeed, Salihovic had the complete opposite effect for the home side, with the midfielder's straight red card for an ugly-looking challenge on Tobias Werner ensuring a nervy last few minutes at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena.
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