Markus Gisdol’s Hoffenheim side had been trounced 6-1 in the teams‘ first derby meeting back in September and they set out with a clear desire to set the record straight in the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena. After Fabian Johnson had been denied by a sprawling save in only the second minute, Schipplock converted Firmino’s cross with aplomb to put the hosts in front.
The playing surface had quickly become sodden in the pouring rain, and with both sets of players flying into the challenges, excitement came thick and fast. Stuttgart came close to an equaliser through Moritz Leitner’s fizzing drive, although they might easily have fallen further behind had Sejad Salihovic’s long-range strike not hit the wrong side of the post.
Stuttgart’s luck ran out within minutes of the restart, though, as Volland seized onto a cute pass from Salihovic, held off the covering defender and finished calmly into the corner. It was the 43rd goal shipped by the Swabians this season, and that number could have been 44 seconds later but for Sven Ulreich’s smart stop to thwart Volland.
The miss mattered little, however, as a hapless Stuttgart continued to leave themselves exposed and Schipplock made sure of the points with a neat chip after being released by the effervescent Firmino. Antonio Rüdiger pulled a goal back for the beleaguered visitors, but a second yellow card shown to Moritz Leitner effectively killed off their challenge, with Firmino crashing in a late spot-kick to make it a satisfying day indeed for die Kraichgauer.
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