Hertha Berlin, Hoffenheim share points in draw
Hertha Berlin and Hoffenheim shared the points from a 1-1 draw at the Olympiastadion to remain locked together in mid-table in the Bundesliga.
Sami Allagui gave Hertha a flying start in front of almost 44,000 spectators, but Eugen Polanski leveled before the break.
An injury to Hoffenheim goalkeeper Koen Casteels overshadowed the second half and gave Alexander Stolz his Bundesliga debut at the age of 30, and he excelled to ensure his side a point.
Hertha had the ball in the back of the net first with Allagui curling his right-footed shot beyond the reach of Casteels with only the hosts’ first chance of the game.
Hoffenheim looked more confident when in possession, but it was not until close to the end of the half that they managed to find an equalizer.
Polanski beat Thomas Kraft with a curling shot of his own, from slightly further out than Allagui’s effort, but with the same end result.
Either side of half-time, Hertha’s top-scorer, and reported Borussia Dortmund target Adrian Ramos, tested Casteels again, but the Hoffenheim goalkeeper came out on top.
He lost out in their next duel, though, with a mid-air collision seeing the Hoffenheim goalkeeper carried off with a heavily strapped lower leg.
Stolz came on for an unexpected debut, but he soon showed that he was not only making up the numbers on the Hoffenheim team sheet.
When Ronny tried to lob him with a late free-kick, he scampered back towards his goal and tipped the effort over the crossbar in style.
Hoffenheim then nearly snatched victory in the last of four minutes of stoppage time when they earned a free-kick on the edge of the area.
Volland stepped up and his dipping shot was touched over the bar by Kraft, and there was no time left to take the corner.