TSG 1899 Hoffenheim claimed three precious points with a composed 2-0 win away at fellow relegation battlers Eintracht Frankfurt.
Eintracht Frankfurt 0-2 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
With just two points separating the sides going into the game, the opening stages were predictably cagey. Andrej Kramaric had a pot-shot saved and Sonny Kittel's drive was deflected over for the hosts, while Luc Castaignos passed up the best opportunity of the first half, shooting straight at Oliver Baumann when a square pass to Änis Ben-Hatira may have been the better option.
A scrappy game then came alive in the second half as Hoffenheim took the lead courtesy of a Nadiem Amiri solo effort - scored seconds after he came on - that sent the visiting bench into raptures. Eintracht looked to respond instantly but nerves appeared to have spread throughout the side and their play was littered with errors. In the dying minutes, another substitute - Mark Uth - finished the Eagles off to seal a huge three points for Hoffenheim and crank up the pressure on Niko Kovac's charges.
Man of the match
The contribution of the two substitutes was decisive but it was the industry of Kramaric that set the tone in this result for Hoffenheim, the Croat covering every blade of grass and assisting Uth's stoppage-time goal after another tireless run.
A victory was the only motivation for either side going into this one, and while Die Kraichgauer will delight in moving on to 31 points, Frankfurt have missed a huge opportunity to climb the standings. A consolation may be that there are still only five points separating themselves in 17th and SV Darmstadt 98 in 13th.
- This game was Luc Castaignos' first league start for Frankfurt in almost five months, and Sonny's Kittel's first since May 2015.Amiri has now scored his first away goal in the Bundesliga and first as a substitute.Hoffenheim have amassed an impressive 17 points in their nine league games under 28-year-old coach Julian Nagelsmann.
Frankfurt: Hradecky - Chandler, Zambrano (c) (Ayhan 57'), Abraham, Djakpa - Hasebe - Aigner, Stendera, Kittel (Fabian 76'), Ben-Hatira - Castaignos (Seferovic 65')
Coach: Niko Kovac
Hoffenheim: Baumann - Kaderabek, Schär, Süle, Toljan - Strobl - Volland (Polanski 86'), Ochs (Amiri 61'), Rudy (c), Vargas (Uth 46') - Kramaric
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann