The game had more than its share of ups and downs, with Hoffenheim thrice going ahead through Roberto Firmino and Joselu, only to be pegged back by goals from plucky Fürth's Zoltan Stieber, Edgar Prib and Lasse Sobiech.
Takashi Usami shrugged off a bout of the flu to make the starting eleven and was joined in the Hoffenheim line-up by goalkeeper Tim Wiese - making only his fourth start of the campaign - midfielder Kevin Volland and debutant Denis Streker, with Markus Babbel making three changes to the side beaten by FC Bayern Munich last time out.
Babbel's tinkering appeared to have a somewhat adverse effect as a pair of slide-rule passes carved open the home defence inside the first five minutes, only for loanee striker Edu to fluff his lines in front of goal. The Brazilian's profligacy was duly punished moments later when an unchallenged Firmino helped himself to his second of the campaign, glancing home Sebastian Rudy's left-wing free kick.
The opening goal had clearly unhinged the travelling Clover Leaves who, after seeing a trademark run and shot from Usami fall gratefully into the arms of goalkeeper Max Grün, almost gifted Hoffenheim their second in near-identical fashion to the first, with Joselu mere inches from tucking away another Rudy special.
Still, in Wiese, Fürth were fortunate enough to be up against a goalkeeper showing plenty of ring rust, and while the veteran stopper made a decent save from Prib's speculative 18-yarder, his positioning left a lot to be desired as Stieber smashed in the follow-up six minutes before the half-time whistle.
Fürth were looking a little leggy at the back after the restart, but certainly matched their opponents' efforts as an attacking unit, with Prib again chancing his arm from range in the 58th minute and Wiese gobbling up at the second time of asking.
The pendulum would swing back in Hoffenheim's favour after the hour-mark as Joselu coolly beat the offside trap to fire past Grün, who had only just manged to spare his own blushes, having landed a misplaced kick straight at the feet of Kevin Volland.
Prib thought he'd done enough to ensure a share of the spoils for the Bavarian outfit with an emphatic equaliser, only for Joselu to bundle home what looked to be the scrappiest of winning goals a minute from normal time. This was the Bundesliga's 15,000 clash in its star-studded history, though, and fittingly there was time for one final twist as Sobiech headed home Stieber's injury-time corner.
Line-ups and statistics