Hoffenheim extended their unbeaten run to five Bundesliga games after edging an entertaining encounter at home to Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 on Saturday afternoon.
Hoffenheim 1-0 Leverkusen
Goals: 1-0 Wagner (62')
The 30,000 fans packed into the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena were treated to a feast of relentless attacking football in the first half, with both teams pouring forward at pace at every opportunity. Leverkusen marginally had the upper hand, thanks in no small part to the tireless Karim Bellarabi on the right wing, but although there were good chances at either end the score remained goalless at the break.
The tempo inevitably dropped in the second period but both teams remained committed to going forward. The deadlock was finally broken midway through the half when Andrej Kramaric's cross from the left was met by Sandro Wagner, who bundled the ball over the line with the help of a deflection from goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez and Leon Bailey were brought on for Leverkusen as they visitors looked to grab a point, but Hoffenheim held on for their 11th victory of the season.
Man of the match
Kramaric was at the involved of most of Hoffenheim's attacks, constantly causing trouble with his pace and movement. He covered more ground than any other player (12.38 kilometres) and set up Wagner for the only goal of the game.
A place in the UEFA Champions League remains a distinct possibility for Hoffenheim. Now five points clear of fifth place, Julian Nagelsmann's side are on course to reach the qualifying rounds – at the very least – for the first time ever.
- This was Hoffenheim's maiden win over Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.Leverkusen's Roberto Hilbert played his first Bundesliga game since 14 May 2016 here.Prior to this game, Leverkusen had only won one point from seven games without Chicharito in the starting line-up.
Hoffenheim: Baumann – Süle, Hübner, Zuber - Demirbay (Polanski 85'), Toljan (Schwegler 46'), Bicakcic, Rudy (c) - Kramaric, Wagner, Szalai (Amiri 58')
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Leverkusen: Leno - Hilbert, Toprak (c), Dragovic, Henrichs - Bellarabi, Baumgartlinger (Kießling 82'), Kampl, Brandt (Bailey 71') - Mehmedi – Volland (Chicharito 71')
Coach: Tayfun Korkut