Sinsheim - Just when it seemed it was going to be Joselu's night, Greuther Fürth struck at the last to deny the1899 Hoffenheim striker the glory. The hosts had gone in front three times, but when Lasse Sobiech headed home Edgar Prib's corner three minutes into stoppage time, they had to content themselves with a share of the spoils in a six-goal thriller.
Wiese still awaiting first clean sheet
"I'm hugely disappointed," the 22-year-old Stuttgart-born Spain U-21 international admitted after the match. Signed from Real Madrid in the summer, Joselu has been a regular starter since Matchday 4, on the back of Hoffenheim's miserable start to the season. The brace against Fürth on Friday takes his overall tally up to three goals, and as he explained, "I've adapted to the system with only one forward and of course I'm happy now to have also scored at home."
Joselu displayed all his coolness when he exploited his opportunities against Fürth to make it 2-1 and 3-2, but he could have possibly decided Friday's spectacular encounter when he volleyed the ball against the crossbar after 77 minutes instead of making it 3-1, as Fürth's Prib leveled the score shortly after.
Hoffenheim's skipper Tim Wiese, back in goal after being sidelined for five weeks due to a ruptured muscle fibre, unsurprisingly explained in the wake of the game that he felt it was two points lost rather than one won. Despite the Kraichgauer not having won a single match and conceding in every game since Wiese has joined from Werder Bremen before the season, the Germany international remained optimistic pointing out "we just have to keep working hard." Similarly, coach Markus Babbel felt his team lacked stability at the back, "we weren't as compact as in the last matches."
1899 had continuously been rising in the table after losing the opening three matches which followed their knock-out in the first round of the DFB Cup, but Friday's draw has dampened their hopes to close the gap to the European spots as eight points hold the Kraichgauer in bottom third of the table.
With holding midfielders Daniel Williams, Sejad Salihovic and Tobias Weis unavailable against Fürth, Babbel was forced to make a couple of changes to Hoffenheim's line-up, and surprisingly helped 21-year-old Denis Streker to his Bundesliga debut in place of Brazilian old hand Chris. Hoffenheim have a tradition of using young players, and Babbel explained that "it's one of my principles to field the younger player when two have the same quality." Likewise, 19-year-old Vincenzo Grifo was given his first topflight experience later into the game after convincing in the club's Under 23 side.
Despite their clear rise in form in the last matches, Hoffenheim have much to improve if they are to play in Europe next season.
Tobias Schächter reporting from Hoffenheim