Hoffenheim hold Bayern in six-goal thriller

Munich – 1899 Hoffenheim became the first team to take points off FC Bayern München at the Allianz Arena this season as Roberto Firmino earned the Sinsheim club a share of the spoils in a pulsating 3-3 draw in Munich.

Hoffenheim take the lead

Anthony Modeste stunned the Allianz Arena with the opener after 27 minutes, before goals from Claudio Pizarro either side of Xherdan Shaqiri’s strike put Bayern 3-1 up. Sejad Salihovic’s stunning free-kick reduced the arrears just before the interval and Firmino struck with a quarter of an hour left on the clock to equalise for Markus Gisdol’s team and earn the visitors a deserved point.

Pep Guardiola had been expected to name a much-changed line-up for Bayern’s first match as 2013/14 Bundesliga champions and the Spaniard didn’t disappoint, with first-choice keeper Manuel Neuer joined on the bench by captain Philipp Lahm, Mario Mandzukic, Arjen Robben and Thomas Müller. The hosts weren’t short of fire-power in attack, however, with Franck Ribery and Mario Götze looking particularly menacing early on.

Despite a promising start, Bayern were lucky to escape at the other end when Modeste almost got a toe to Daniel van Buyten’s under-hit back pass, with Tom Starke’s clearance rebounding off the striker and back onto the keeper before rolling out for a corner, which the Bavarians were able to clear. Starke was powerless to prevent Modeste from giving Hoffenheim the lead half way through the first period, as the Frenchman beat the hosts’ offside trap before prodding past the keeper at the second attempt.

Goals galore

Modeste’s goal only served to shock the hosts into action and Pizarro restored parity on the half-hour mark, heading Shaqiri’s inswinging cross into the far corner. Pizarro then returned the favour to set up Shaqiri, who fired Bayern into the lead for the first time in the match, before the Peruvian international finished off a flowing counter-attack to tap home Bayern’s third goal in the space of ten minutes. The half ended with a set-piece of the highest order, as Sejad Salihovic curled a 25-yard free-kick past Starke to reduce the deficit going in at the break.

The game continued to ebb and flow from one end to the other after the restart, with Jannik Vestergaard doing well to intercept a Shaqiri through-ball intended for Pizarro, before Roberto Firmino’s goal-bound header was well held by Starke at the other end. Tarik Elyounoussi, who had replaced the injured Modeste towards the end of the first half, then went within inches of prodding Andreas Beck’s cross into the net, but the Norwegian midfielder failed to get a touch.

Firmino equalises

Unsurprisingly perhaps, given the frenetic nature of the first half, both sets of players began to tire towards the end of the second, although Vestergaard forced Starke into another smart save with a powerful header at the far post. Hoffenheim continued to commit men forward in search of an equaliser, and Markus Gisdol’s side were duly rewarded with 15 minutes remaining.

Starke’s hurried clearance fell straight to substitute Kai Herdling, who guided the ball between Dante and van Buyten and into the path of Firmino, who confidently finished past the Bayern keeper to level the score. Robben came on to replace Ribery with ten minutes remaining and the Dutchman was denied a late winner by Jens Grahl, who pulled off an outstanding save at the feet of the winger to keep the score level and deny Guardiola’s men a 20th consecutive victory in the league.

Line-ups and statistics

Matthew Howarth

See highlights of the 3-3 thriller below, and on the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: