Hannover, Hoffenheim settle for draw
Europa League hopefuls Hoffenheim and Hannover took a Bundesliga point each from a dull goalless draw at the Rhein-Neckar Arena.
Both sides have declared their ambition of finishing inside the top six this season, but improvements will be needed if either of them are to succeed in catching Bayer Leverkusen after showing more limitations than potential in wintry conditions in Baden-Wurttemberg.
Chances were few and far between as both sides lacked attacking ambition and appeared to fear losing rather than take the risks needed to win.
Hoffenheim striker Vedad Ibisevic had the first shot of the game in the 11th minute, but he missed the post by inches.
He thought he had earned a penalty in the 19th minute when he went to ground under the challenge of Emanuel Pogatetz inside the penalty area, but he was lucky not to be shown a yellow card for diving as the referee waved play on.
Hannover's first shot on goal was provided by Lars Stindl, but Tom Starke made a save.
At the other end, Ron-Robert Zieler denied Ibisevic with his foot before seeing shots from Andreas Beck and Sahid Salihovic miss the target.
There was not much difference in the second half either with even fewer openings than in the first 45 minutes.
The home side's best chance was squandered by substitute Fabian Johnson while Moritz Stoppelkamp came closest to stealing the points for the visitors, but he had two shots blocked early in the second half.
Both sides soon settled for a draw, frustrating the near 25,000 fans who had braved the cold temperatures only to be disappointed.