Bundesliga 'Goalmania' may officially be over but nobody seemed to tell Hoffenheim as they took another big step towards securing a top four finish thanks to a 5-3 home victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach in a gripping game on Saturday.
Hoffenheim 5-3 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Gladbach have been disappointing away from home this season and the travelling supporters will have feared the worst after an Adam Szalai brace put Hoffenheim 2-0 up after just 24 minutes. The hosts looked to be in control, but Jannik Vestergaard gave Gladbach hope with an easy tap-in following a free-kick, before Lars Stindl was given a simple finish into an empty net after Oliver Baumann's attempted clearance was charged down.
There were more twists to come after the break. Gladbach were the better side early in the second half but Hoffenheim edged ahead once again when Kerem Demirbay's free-kick deceived everyone in the box and bounced in at the back post. Substitute Mark Uth restored the home side's two-goal cushion with a stunning strike from distance, but Mahmoud Dahoud ensured there would be a nervy finale when he cut the deficit once more late on. However, Demirbay's second of the game – a header at the back post – sealed the points for Julian Nagelsmann's side.
Man of the Match
Demirbay was excellent for the hosts, covering more ground than any of his team-mates and proving a constant menace with his pace and dribbling. He crowned a superb display with a goal – which may have been somewhat fortunate, but was certainly deserved.
Hoffenheim are one of just three sides - along with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund - to remain unbeaten at home in the Bundesliga this season. That has been one of the key factors in their charge towards European qualification for the 2017/18 campaign.
- All six of Szalai's goals in the second half of the campaign have come at home.Vestergaard has scored three times in a single season for the first time ever.Traore was in the Gladbach starting line-up for the first time since Matchday 11 following injury.
Hoffenheim: Baumann - Süle, Vogt, Hübner (Bicakcic 85')- Toljan, Rudy (c), Demirbay, Zuber – Wagner (Uth 63'), Szalai (Amiri 74'), Kramaric
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Gladbach: Sommer - Elvedi, Christensen, Vestergaard, Wendt - Hofmann, Dahoud, Strobl (Benes 85'), Traore (Herrmann 74')– Stindl (c), Hahn (Drmic 74')
Coach: Dieter Hecking
Watch: Man of the Match Demirbay on Hoffenheim's "amazing" 5-3 win: