After a fairly quiet first half, goals from substitutes earned a vital win for Hoffenheim with Nadiem Amiri and Mark Uth finding the back of the net.
Goalless first half
Given the magnitude of the game, both sides began slowly. Neither were keen to commit men forward early on as they tried to get some early time on the ball. There would be half chances for both, as Luc Castaignos flashed a header across goal before Andrej Kramaric had a shot saved by Lukas Hradecky.
Neither side could really say they had the better of the game in the opening half hour, but Frankfurt were looking more likely to open the scoring. Sonny Kittel, finally back from injury, looked to be through on goal though a superb block tackle from Fabian Schär saved the day.
Hoffenheim then had the first meaningful efforts on target at either end as Hradecky pulled off a superb double save. Kramaric was denied twice in succession by the Finnish stopper, who was quickly congratulated by his team-mates for the stunning stop.
Anis Ben Hatira had the final chance of the half as he failed to pick out an open and free Castaignos in the middle of the box. He did, however, bring a very good save from the fingertips of Oliver Baumann. The hosts could count themselves unlucky not to be ahead at the break, after having the better of the play in the opening 45.
Uth and Amiri give Hoffenheim the win
The opening exchanges in the second period were frantic and frenzied, as both teams tried to push forward and kick-on from the end of the first half. Chances didn't come at regularly intervals, neither did shots in general, but Hoffenheim nearly went behind but Jeremy Toljan managed to head Carlos Zambrano's effort off the line.
Much to the home fans' dismay, the promise was flattened and the side from Sinsheim went ahead. Nadiem Amiri strode forward and struck a strong shot that flew past the outstretched arm of Hradecky, finding the far corner just one minute after coming on. The visiting fans were jubilant, Frankfurt feared the worst.
The Eagles came forward to no avail, and it was Mark Uth's simple finish in the dying minutes that killed any chances of a comeback. In what was a massive battle, Hoffenheim were more than grateful to secure the win and move four points and three places above Frankfurt; there is serious work to be done at the Commerzbank Arena.