Bremen denies Babbel’s Hoffenheim
A late goal from Marko Arnautovic denied Markus Babbel a dream debut as coach of Hoffenheim as they were held to a draw at Werder Bremen.
Jannik Vestergaard gave Hoffenheim the lead in the fourth minute, but they were denied all three points in the very last minute when Arnautovic struck.
The draw left Hoffenheim still searching for their first win in over two months while it was a precious point for Bremen, who took advantage of Bayer Leverkusen’s defeat in Dortmund to move two points clear of their rivals in fifth place.
Babbel was sitting on the Hoffenheim bench for the first time, and he was brought to his feet after just four minutes as Vestergaard opened his account for the club with a header from Sebastian Rudy’s corner.
Bremen responded well with Hoffenheim goalkeeper Tom Starke forced into making a fine save to push Mehmet Ekici’s free-kick behind for a corner.
Markus Rosenberg wasted Bremen’s next chance to level in the 21st minute when he lacked composure when faced with only Starke to beat.
It was not enough in the eyes of the home fans, who made their feelings clear as their side went in at the break a goal down.
The home team made a lively start to the second half with Marko Marin, on for Ekici at the break, showing his dribbling strength to create a rare opening.
Niklas Fullkrug, fresh from signing professional terms this week, was thrown on as an additional attacker and he had a good chance to score in the 79th minute, but he failed to beat Starke in a one-on-one situation.
Bremen increased the pressure in the last 10 minutes, but it looked like Hoffenheim were going to hold out, until Arnautovic struck.
Rosenberg headed a long punt forwards into the path of the Austrian, who made no mistake in beating Starke with a low shot into the bottom corner.