Sinsheim - A goalless draw may not have been the result they were after, but 1899 Hoffenheim can nonetheless be happy to have ended their points-drought at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach.
New Year, new start
The tactical game of cat and mouse was hardly a match for the neutrals, yet both sides can take positives from disciplined performances.
As is often the way with teams under a new coach, Hoffenheim started their first match of the Marco Kurz era intent on turning over a new leaf. The hosts were fiercely energetic in the opening exchanges, with the fluid movement of Roberto Firmino
and Kevin Volland unsettling the visting defence. However, bar a couple of pot-shots from distance, Marc-Andre ter Stegen's goal remained relatively untroubled.
Gradually Gladbach found their rhythm and enjoyed greater possession in midfield, although they struggled to convert their dominance into chances. That was largely due to Hoffenheim's new-look defensive tactics. Aware that the 41 goals conceded before the winter break represented the worst record of all the top-flight teams, Kurz instructed his charges to sit deep. The safety-first strategy worked, with the sides going into the break on level terms.
The game followed a similar pattern after the restart, although the home side failed to reproduce the same attacking adventure as they had in the first half. Seemingly content to collect a point, Kurz's men sat back and invited Gladbach to come forward without launching any meaningful counterattacks of their own.
In the end both teams could be satisfied with the result. Hoffenheim ended a run of six consecutive defeats to collect their first point since mid-November, while it was a sixth straight unbeaten game for the visitors, who remain eighth in the standings.
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