Nuremberg - Japanese international Hiroshi Kiyotake was the star of the show as 1. FC Nuremberg put some distance between themselves and the drop zone, collecting a win over 1899 Hoffenheim after prevailing in a 4-2 thriller.
Entertainment was the name of the game, but though Hoffenheim twice struck back with goals from Sven Schipplock and Sejad Salihovic, two goals from Kiyotake and efforts from Per Nilsson, Sebastian Polter were enough to move der Club into 13th place.
It came as no surprise that both sides came into the match hoping to keep things tight at the back. However, neither team stuck to the script, as Kevin Volland wastefully dragged a clear-cut chance beyond the far post, before the hosts opened the scoring. Kiyotake's whipped free-kick sailed past the bodies in the box and into the far corner as Hoffenheim conceded their 13th goal from a set-piece this season.
The Japanese international's superb solo run forced Marvin Compper to produce a goalline clearance, but Hoffenheim were dictating the pace of the game and they made Nuremberg pay as Schipplock found space in between the two centre-backs to head home Kevin Volland's inch-perfect cross. The goal snapped der Club out of their passive approach and they were soon rewarded for a positive reaction when Nilsson reacted quickest with a diving header after Casteels had tipped Timo Gebhart's dangerous free-kick onto the bar.
1899 their own worst enemy
In a topsy-turvy encounter, the hosts fell back into their bad habits after the restart, as Hoffenheim came out of the dressing room with purpose, though they continued struggling to find a way through Nuremberg's packed out backline. The sluggish tempo played into the hosts' hands with Kiyotake again going close, but when Compper's back pass left Casteels stranded, Polter picked up the loose ball to tap home into an empty net, re-establishing a two-goal cushion for the home side.
1899 let their heads drop and provided little further threat, with Nuremberg content to shut up shop. A fortuitous penalty, given after Nilsson had been penalised for handball, rekindled the vague hope that Hoffenheim could stage a comeback when Sejad Salihovic sent Rafael Schäfer the wrong way. However, that was short-lived as Kiyotake finally got his second, playing a one-two with Almog Cohen before turning his man and curling a sumptuous effort in off the post to wrap up proceedings
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