After an entertaining end to the first half, two in-form players scored once again, with Luka Jovic putting the hosts ahead before Serge Gnabry equalised.
Match comes to life shortly before the break
Despite their defeat against Werder Bremen last Sunday, Frankfurt needed just a point here to return temporarily to the top four, ahead the game between Leipzig and Leverkusen, however Hoffenheim are pushing for a European place as well and could have gone ahead of the Eagles on goal difference with all three points. Frankfurt were without Ante Rebic, with Marco Fabián coming in, whilst Jetro Willems also replaced Timothy Chandler from the side that lost to Bremen. Hoffenheim made one enforced change from the 6-0 thrashing of 1. FC Köln, with the injured Kevin Vogt replaced by Havard Nordtveit.
The game got off to a cagey start, with the player perhaps a little distracted be the multi-coloured display of flairs from the home fans, who were marking the pro-diversity ‘United Colors of Frankfurt’ campaign, with the players’ shirts also sporting the motive. If they could see down the other end of the pitch, they may have been temporarily excited when Kevin-Prince Boateng headed over an early corner.
Another Frankfurt corner then saw Jovic head at Oliver Baumann, with the Hoffenheim goalkeeper also saving a Willems cross. In between, Andrej Kramaric had a shot blocked at the other end, before Florian Grillitsch, who had been involved in the build-up, fired the rebound into the stands.
It took until the final ten minutes or so for the half to really come alive. A great ball from Mark Uth found Gnabry, who on current form looked certain to score once he shot past Lukas Hradecky but instead went inches wide. Another big chance for the guests then saw Kramaric’s volley beat Hradecky but hit the post. Makoto Hasebe also did well to intercept a cross from Lukas Rupp moments before it reach Gnabry.
Fabián had also struck just over from outside the box for Frankfurt, and, apart from a Gnabry shot on the half-time whistle being saved, they ended the first half strongest. Marco Russ was left completely unmarked from a corner, which his hard-hit shot well kept out by Baumann. Then after a short free-kick, Willems put the ball into the box with Jovic heading wide. It all boded well for the second half.
Jovic scores again but Gnabry ensures lead is short-lived
There were chances at both ends soon after the resumption. Uth forced a save out of Hradecky, although he may have been better served trying to cross to Gnabry, whilst Baumann once again dealt with a dangerous cross from Willems. It was from the opposite, right, wing though that they finally opened the scoring just a minute later. Fabián passed to Wolf, whose cross was put past Baumann by Jovic, sliding in for his fourth goal in as many games.
The in-form Serbian striker managed to injure himself in the process though, and despite battling on for a few minutes was soon replaced. Meanwhile Frankfurt’s lead didn’t last much longer. Their own in-form youngster, Gnabry, got another chance to bring out his 'stirring' celebration – a fifth time in five matches – after being found by Uth. He ran through on goal, and Hradecky got a hand on the shot, it wasn’t enough to stop its momentum.
Coming on straight after the goal, Nadiem Amiri nearly doubled his side’s advantage soon after. An error from Danny da Costa led to him getting the ball, but he lost his footing as he struck it, going wide. Da Costa himself then had a chance for Frankfurt, with his header from a Willems cross coming off Nico Schutz.
Soon after getting away with a nasty challenge on Amiri, Frankfurt substitute Sébastien Haller came inches from putting them back into the lead. A risky short goal-kick from Baumann was pounced upon by Fabián, with Haller then striking the bar after receiving the ball. Another substitute in Mijat Gacinovic then nearly found him with a good through ball, but Haller couldn’t get to it before Baumann could claim.
Chances late on came from Ádám Szalai, who couldn’t head a Schutz cross on target, whilst Haller went over for Frankfurt. In the end the 1-1 draw, a repeat of the score in the reverse fixture in November, was a fair result, although for Frankfurt it meant the end of a six-game winning streak at home.