Sinsheim - A spirited 1899 Hoffenheim gave FC Bayern Munich one of their toughest outings since the Bundesliga restart, but the relegation candidates were ultimately powerless to prevent the league leaders adding three more points to their impressive season haul with a narrow 1-0 victory.
The hosts were not without their chances, but after Mario Gomez put Bayern in front with his sixth goal of the season, Hoffenheim failed to muster up a response as the record titleholders went on to break another Bundesliga record having now gone 584 minutes without conceding on foreign soil.
With the sun beating down in Kraichgau, the hosts adopted a fast-paced approach in attempting to close down the record titleholders, but Bayern still nonetheless managed to combine to decent effect early on. Bastian Schweinsteiger had Hoffenheim keeper Heurelho Gomes at full stretch to tip his curling free-kick around the post, while Gomez could only head wide from the resulting corner.
Approaching the quarter hour mark though, it was Hoffenheim, playing with a belief not witnessed in recent performances, who began asserting themselves as they twice went close to an opener. Daniel Williams should have converted Kevin Volland's free-kick after it bounced through a throng of bodies, but he almost made up for it soon after by sending a fierce 20-yard drive whistling just past Tom Starke’s near post.
Gomez vs. Gomes
Having survived the brief scare, Bayern soon went about taking a grip of the proceedings. But with 1899 getting numbers behind the ball, the visitors were lacking a clinical touch for all their domination of possession. Gomes produced a routine save to deny David Alaba, before a single mistake then undid Hoffenheim's promising first-half performance.
Lone striker Igor de Camargo conceded possession cheaply with five minutes remaining, allowing Bayern to break forward. Franck Ribery headed Jerome Boateng's cross into the path of Gomez, who took one touch before clipping the ball past Gomes. Hoffenheim's keeper did well to prevent Philipp Lahm adding to the scoreline soon after, while at the other end Starke denied Williams to preserve Bayern's narrow lead at the break.
Chances at a premium
With nothing left to lose, the hosts continued to commit men forward after the restart, forcing Bayern to go in search of a much-needed second goal in order to take the wind out of Hoffenheim's sails. Marco Kurz's charges were getting in behind the league leaders' backline with alarming regularity, but bereft of a precise final ball, they failed to truly threaten Starke's clean sheet, with the exception of a fierce Stephan Schröck effort batted away by the former 1899 custodian.
With the healthy pace of the encounter being maintained, gaps began to appear during the closing stages. Gomes was able to comfortably collect Philipp Lahm's blocked effort, but might have been helpless had Schweinsteiger's free-kick not come back off the face of the crossbar. With quarter of an hour remaining the woodwork denied Bayern's midfield maestro for a second time and, though Ribery and David Alaba both drew late saves out of Gomes, Bayern were forced to settle for their first single-goal victory of the Bundesliga season.
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