Hoffenheim settle for draw vs. Hamburg in Bundesliga tilt

Hamburg's Nicolai Mueller and Hoffenheim's Roberto Firmino battle for the ball.

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TSG Hoffenheim missed a chance to go second in the Bundesliga table, settling for a 1-1 draw at Hamburger SV Sunday afternoon in a wide-open affair that saw both goalkeepers produce top-class performances. 

In the night game, Eintracht Frankfurt could have gone third with a win at SC Paderborn but instead the visitors let a 1-0 lead get away and fell 3-1 to a storming Paderborn comeback. The 79th minute winner came from the home side’s captain, Uwe Hunemeier before Stefan Kutschke put the icing on the cake. 

Alexander Meier had Frankfurt briefly ahead but Marvin Ducksch came off the bench to get the Paderborn comeback started with a fine goal. The win gave Paderborn seventh place in the table where they are level on points but ahead of Frankfurt on goal-difference.

For HSV the point lifted them to 16th, a place above the automatic drop zone, but perhaps more significant was the sign of continuing improvement for the strugglers. If they needed Jaroslav Drobny’s work to preserve a point, it was equally true that Hoffenheim owed Oliver Baumann for their share of the rewards. 

A win would have pulled the visitors level with Borussia Moenchengladbach, who are four points behind leaders Bayern Munich, but the draw was enough to lift them to third which they share with FSV Mainz. It also kept Hoffenheim’s good start to the season intact; they remain unbeaten in eight matches, although five of those have ended in draws.

The first half produced the goals, Anthony Modeste giving Hoffenheim a 15th-minute lead and Pierre-Michel Lasogga equalizing for HSV in the 34th.

Modeste was sent clean through the flat-back line by Pirmin Schwegler’s pass from the halfway line and the striker raced in alone to beat Drobny. Modeste nearly made it two a minute later, denied only by a last-gasp Heiko Westermann tackle, then HSV’s Czech keeper had to be very good to keep out a Niklas Sule header off a Sebastian Rudy free kick in the 21st minute.

Rafael van der Vaart and Nikolai Mueller got things turned around for HSV, forcing Baumann into a pair of good saves a minute later and it was Mueller, dispossessing Roberto Firmino, who got Hamburg’s scoring move started. After Mueller won the ball he found Tolgay Arslan in space; Arslan spotted Lasogga open top right and set-up the smooth finish.

Drobny then produced the save of the match in the 45th minute to keep out Tarik Elyounoussi, who was in alone.

After a quiet 20 minutes to start the second half, the goalkeepers were again called on to make spectacular saves to preserve the scoreline. Drobny beat Firmino while Baumann denied Lasogga and cleared a rebound from Mueller before parrying away a Sven Shiplock chance. At the other end, Lasogga hit the post and Baumann made a flying, one-hand save to keep Zoltan Stieber out.

BUNDESLIGA RESULTS

It was a largely defensive struggle early in Paderborn’s Benteler-Arena, Elias Kachunga failing to snap up the odd chance in the opening half for the hosts before space opened up in the second half.

Meier’s goal came from a quick move on the left side begun by Bastian Oczipka, who spotted Takashi Inui with room to make a strong run down the left channel. Inui then saw Meier, who powered home a first-timer from the edge of the box in the 57th minute.

Ducksch and Lukas Rupp, who had come on as substitutes just two minutes before, combined to level things for Paderborn in the 66th minute. Rupp got Ducksch possession on the left edge of the box and the finish was terrific, a strike from the acute angle that caught the far top corner to level matters.

Ducksch came close again in the 75th minute when Moritz Stoppelkamp set him up to challenge keeper Felix Wiedwald, a duel the Frankfurt keeper won.

Then came the winner, a move started by Daniel Bruckner wide on the left. He found Mario Vrancic with space at the top left to slip a pass through to Hunemeier for a clever, side-foot finish in the 79th. The final tally came with five minutes left, Suleyman Koc sending Kutschke through alone to round Wiedwald before slotting the ball home.