Manager Markus Gisdol made five changes to the side that suffered a 3-1 away defeat to Werder Bremen last weekend. Andreas Beck, David Abraham and Niklas Süle started in defence for Jeremy Toljan, Jannik Vestergaard and Tobias Strobl. Kai Herdling replaced Sejad Salihovic in midfield and Anthony Modeste led the line in attack, replacing the suspended Tarik Elyounoussi.
Intense start, Hoffenheim struggle to find rhythm
Both teams invested a lot into their attacking efforts right from the start of the game. It was an up and down affair, with the visitors recording the first opportunity. Lanig's attempt from distance forced Grahl into a decent save in the eighth minute. The following corner produced even more danger, as Madlung poked a close-range attempt over the bar. At the other end, Volland won an aerial duel against Zambrano but Trapp saved the header comfortably.
TSG were struggling to find their rhythm in the aftermath of the intense opening minutes. Frankfurt had the majority of possession but weren't able to create any notable chances apart from set-pieces and several crosses into the danger zone that Hoffenheim's defenders dealt with comfortably. The hosts had fortune on their side in the 32nd minute however, when Russ hit a firm shot over the bar. Seven minutes later, Madlung again went close to opening the scoring for the visitors as his header was saved by Grahl. The rebound ended up with Lanig, but his attempt from close range went wide. It continued to be an open game in the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena, with Hoffenheim failing to get a shot on target, despite getting themselves into dangerous positions. The last chance of the first half belonged to Hoffenheim, as Rudy's attempt from the edge of the area went close, but ultimately didn't force Trapp into a save. It was an intense first half, with a slight advantage to the visitors, but TSG remained dangerous with a quick transition from defence to attack.
Hoffenheim in control, Modeste sent off
There were no changes at half time and Hoffenheim started brightly with Modeste testing Trapp just 40 seconds after the restart. The hosts were now committing more men forward and this clearly suited them better, as Modeste went close again after 51 minutes following a low pass by Firmino. Herdling's attempt from distance one minute later went over the bar and two minutes after that Johnson tried his luck, also from the edge of the area, but the shot was blocked by a Frankfurt defender. Modeste was unhappy about this, as he was completely unmarked and in a better position than the right back. Frankfurt were now non-existent in attack and it appeared to be just a matter of time before the hosts would take the lead. But despite all their control and good movement forward, Hoffenheim lacked the final touch and precision. An example of this was Modeste's poor touch when trying to control the ball, as he was headed for a one-on-one with Frankfurt's keeper around the hour mark.
TSG were handed a golden opportunity in the closing stages of the match, as Modeste was brought down in the area by Frankfurt's keeper Trapp and referee Florian Meyer pointed to the penalty spot. Firmino stepped up but just like Hoffenheim's attacking efforts in this entire game, his penalty lacked precision and allowed Trapp to make a relatively comfortable save. Just 60 seconds later Hoffenheim were reduced to ten men, when referee Meier sent off Modeste with a straight red card after a tussle with Frankfurt's Zambrano. Replays showed that both players lashed out mild kicks at one another – a harsh decision. Despite their numerical advantage, Frankfurt were happy to sit back and play down the clock and thus the game ended in a stalemate, with Hoffenheim lacking their clinical execution.
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim: Grahl – Beck, Abraham, Süle, Johnson – Rudy, Polanski – Herdling (69‘ Gyau), Firmino, Volland – Modeste
Eintracht Frankfurt: Trapp – Jung, Zambrano, Madlung, Djapka – Russ – Lanig, Barnetta (37‘ Schröck) – Meier – Aigner (70‘ Oczipka), Joselu
Yellow cards: Lanig, Joselu, Schröck, Trapp
Red card: Modeste (85')
Referee: Florian Meyer
Attendance: 30,150 (sold out)