If the hosts' confidence had taken a knock after Thursday’s UEFA Europa League defeat to Athletic Bilbao, they showed no signs of it in the early stages at the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena. Moments after seeing a goal-bound header saved by Hertha ‘keeper Rune Jarstein, Sandro Wagner rose highest from the resulting corner to nod the hosts in front after just six minutes. Mitchell Weiser could have restored parity shortly before the interval, but Oliver Baumann managed to prevent the former Bayern Munich man’s shot from crossing the line.
The visitors started the second half the way they had ended the first, and Ondrej Duda soon forced Baumann into another fine save after latching on to Mathew Leckie’s low ball into the box. Pal Dardai’s team soon got the equaliser their endeavours deserved, though, Esswein stooping low to nod Marvin Plattenhardt’s pin-point cross into the bottom corner. Weiser and then Mark Uth had shots blocked in the closing stages, but neither team was able to carve out a winner.
Man of the match
After going close on numerous occasions in the opening 45 minutes, Esswein finally got the goal his performance deserved within ten minutes of the restart. The former Nuremberg man was a constant threat and, on another day, could have had a hat-trick.
- Sandro Wagner’s opener fell at 13:36CEST, making it the earliest ever goal in Bundesliga history.
- Wagner’s goal was his first Bundesliga strike since 18 March (vs. Bayer Leverkusen).
- After setting up Wagner’s early strike, Andre Kramaric has now been directly involved in a goal a game so far this season.
- Esswein's strike was his first since December 2016 (vs. Wolfsburg).
Hoffenheim: Baumann - Nordtveit, Vogt (c), Hübner - Kaderabek (Passlack, 74’), Geiger, Demirbay, Zuber (Schulz, 82') - Kramaric, Amiri - Wagner (Uth, 61’)
Coach: Julian Nagelsmann
Hertha Berlin: Jarstein - Pekarik, Langkamp (c), Rekik, Plattenhardt - Skjelbred, Lustenberger - Weiser (Haraguchi, 82'), Duda (Stocker, 78'), Esswein (Ibisevic, 88') - Leckie
Coach: Pal Dardai