Hoffenheim edge Stuttgart in derby

Sinsheim - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim took the spoils in the Baden-Württemberg derby after a last-gasp 2-1 win over VfB Stuttgart at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena.

The classic derby

Roberto Firmino opened the scoring for the hosts after the half-hour mark, but Stuttgart ended a run of 446 minutes without a goal thanks to Gotoku Sakai’s deflected strike before the break. After threatening on the counter throughout the second period, the hosts carved out an injury-time winner through Sebastian Rudy.

With local bragging rights on offer, it was a cagey beginning in Sinsheim as Stuttgart wasted several free-kicks, while Hoffenheim attempted to pass their way through a packed visiting defence. Kevin Volland fired the game’s first chance high and wide on the quarter-hour mark, but it took 15 further minutes for the opening goal of a tense affair to arrive, Firmino taking advantage of Stuttgart’s failure to clear Pirmin Schwegler’s set-piece. Eight minutes later, the hosts suffered their own defensive mishap from a dead ball as Sakai was allowed too much space to equalise in the 39th minute.

The leveller ensured Huub Stevens’ side emerged galvanised after the restart, taking the game to their hosts, although struggling to create many clear-cut chances. Adam Hlousek wasted a promising free kick, while the best opportunity fell to Firmino at the other end in the 58th minute, but Sven Ulreich was equal to The Brazilian’s effort. Markus Gisdol’s men continued to threaten as the game drew to a close, finally getting their reward with Rudy’s calm finish in stoppage time.

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