TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 2-1 VfB Stuttgart: Late drama in this local derby
Rudy scores the late winner. Image Credit: bild.de

A goal for each side in the first half from Roberto Firmino and Gotoku Sakai led to a cautious approach in the second. It was Hoffenheim who were rewarded with their patience as Sebastian Rudy scored the winner in the third minute of added time.

Both sides craved the win today as neither had won a game since the Rückrunde began. For Stuttgart the winless run actually includes the last game of the Hinrunde as well where they drew 0-0 with SC Paderborn. However, at least they have something to show for their three Rückrunde games. Their goalless draw at Köln meant they had one point more than today’s opponents who had lost all three games in the Rückrunde.

Hoffenheim coach Markus Gisdol made three changes for this game with Sebastian Rudy, Sven Schipplock and David Abraham all coming in. Stuttgart on the other hand made two changes with Timo Werner and Martin Harnik coming in.

Whilst it may not have been an outstanding first half in terms of the quality of football played it certainly didn’t lack bite as the challenges flew in. There were 23 challenges in total in the first half resulting in four yellow cards, two for each side. The first chance of the game fell to Sven Schipplock for Hoffenheim. It was a case of being in the right place at the right time for the 26 year old, after Kevin Volland’s run was stopped with a tackle but the ball fell to Schipplock. However, the German could only fire straight at the keeper.

Volland managed to complete his run next time around after he intercepted a careless ball from Moritz Leitner, before sprinting past the defence only to fire over. We would have another 15 minutes before we had another chance and it was certainly a big one. A free kick from the near side was sent into the Stuttgart box before Georg Niedermeier tried to clear only to chest the ball down for David Abraham. The Argentine defender’s shot was blocked but Roberto Firmino was there to fire in the rebound. He gave Hoffenheim the lead for the first time since the last game of the Hinrunde, 5-0 against Hertha.

Unfortunately for Markus Gisdol’s side this time around they couldn’t keep a clean sheet. Ten minutes after they took the lead they conceded a foul in their own half. It was sent in to a dangerous position but the Hoffenheim defence was able to clear it to the edge of the box. Disastrously for them Gotoku Sakai was waiting for a loose ball and although Jin-Su Kim blocked his first effort, his second effort was deflected in off of Ermin Bičakčić into the net.

The first half made up for it’s lack of action with some feisty challenges but for most of the second 45 neither was on show as the game became extremely disappointing. It wasn’t until the 57th minute when Firmino fired straight at the keeper that we witnessed a decent effort. In the 74th minute substitute Anthony Modeste slid in to try and direct Firmino’s cross home but it was stopped at the front post by Sven Ulreich.

The drama was saved right until the end however as Hoffenheim scored the winner in the 93rd minute. Volland had the ball on the edge of the box and waited until the defenders approached him freeing up Sebastian Rudy inside the box. Volland fed him the ball and he slid it underneath the keeper to win the game right at the death to the delight of his fellow players and coaching staff.