Sejad Salihovic's (2nd l.) 19th-minute header proved to be the winner in a game dominated by the hosts
Sejad Salihovic's (2nd l.) 19th-minute header proved to be the winner in a game dominated by the hosts

Big points for Hoffenheim in battle against the drop

Hoffenheim kept the pressure on FC Augsburg in the relegation play-off spot with a well-earned 2-1 win against Nuremberg.

Lifeline for Nuremberg?

Two goals inside the opening 20 minutes from Tobias Weis and Sejad Salihovic set Markus Gisdol's side on the road to victory, with Timmy Simons' second-half penalty not enough for the visitors to take anything out of this one. The result leaves 1899 still three points adrift of Augsburg, but closing in on both Düsseldorf and Bremen, neither of whom are by any means safe from the drop as yet.

The home side hit the ground running, Fabian Johnson forcing Club keeper Raphael Schäfer into action for the first time after all of 32 seconds and Roberto Firmino firing just wide on the full not long after that. With eleven minutes on the clock, 1899 went in front when Tobias Weis slotted home following excellent work down the right from Andreas Beck, Firmino and Johnson.

The men from the South West pressed straight on in search of a second and not long after Johnson had arrowed a long-range effort just wide, they got it, Salihovic taking flight on 19 minutes to power home Kevin Volland's cross from the right. Firmino then passed up the chance to bury number three after being perfectly teed up from the right, after which the clear-cut chances dried up for the rest of a half the home side had well under control.

It looked like being more of the same after the restart, an unmarked Volland nodding Firmino's teasing cross inches wide for starters. But in the 57th minute, Koen Casteels handed Nuremberg a potential lifeline, the Hoffenheim custodian bundling over youngster Niklas Stark, a second-half sub, to give the visitors a penalty. Timmy Simons rattled it home and it was suddenly game on again - potentially, anyway. As it transpired, the Franconians remained largely toothless up front and the home side saw the win home without too much subsequent difficulty.

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