"Of course, we wanted to win here but it was a fair result at the end of the day. It was a very intensive match with neither side giving anything away. We’ll take the point and we have to make sure we win our next home game," said Sven Bender. Nadiem Amiri adopted a similar view: "We hoped to get more out of it but the draw is fair enough when all's said and done."
In the second match with Hannes Wolf at the helm, the new Werkself coach made three changes to his first starting eleven against Schalke 04. While bringing in Florian Wirtz (for Amiri) and selecting Moussa Diaby (for Karim Bellarabi) were definitely to be expected, there was a big surprise with Tin Jedvaj being included in the starting line-up. The 25-year-old Croat had only previously played 16 minutes in the Bundesliga this term in the game against Hertha Berlin at the end of November 2020. "Tin has trained very, very well," said Wolf in explaining his decision. Jonathan Tah made way for Jedvaj. The formation used was a 4-2-3-1 system. For Hoffenheim, striker Andrej Kramaric started on the bench.
The writing was on the wall in the last Monday night game in the Bundesliga for the time being: The Werkself definitely wanted to clock up a win to back up their European ambitions with the hosts Hoffenheim urgently needing points after three defeats in succession to avoid becoming involved in the relegation battle. Leverkusen had the first shot on goal with Ryan Sessegnon blocking the effort from Wirtz (9'). Both teams were clearly intent on remaining solid as they moved the ball carefully and made every effort to avoid making mistakes. A long pass by Jedvaj from his own half found Wirtz who dribbled into the box but he lacked the determination to finish and ended up losing possession (19').
When Kerem Demirbay had the ball on the edge of the Hoffenheim box in a very promising position, referee Matthias Jöllenbeck awarded a free kick for a foul – a debatable decision (23'). Diaby then squared the ball instead of shooting (24'), and a left-foot shot from Aránguiz after a one-two with Wendell was turned over the bar by the TSG keeper Oliver Baumann (25'). The alert Werkself gained the upper hand and had more chances but, on the other hand, were lucky when Edmond Tapsoba just managed to get his head to the ball from a cross from the right and Christoph Baumgartner was unable to convert (30'). When Sebastian Rudy had to go off due to injury, Hoffenheim made an attacking change bringing on Kramaric (38'). The two sides went into the break with the score at 0-0.
Hoffenheim looked determined at the start of the second half – and it was good that the very alert Jedvaj was able to prevent his fellow country Kramaric having a shot on goal (49'). At the other end, a shot from Diaby flew well over the top of the bar (57'). There was a double substitution for the Werkself immediately after that: Patrik Schick and Amiri replaced Lucas Alario and Wirtz in a direct like-for-like substitution. Bayer 04 were careless with the final pass during this phase of the game with several promising attacks coming to nothing. When Amiri did find himself unmarked in the box and was able to shoot, his effort was too central and tame – Baumann was not troubled at all (65').
Bayer 04 controlled and dominated the game, did not give anything away at the back but did not show enough determination up front. Hannes Wolf made a third change bringing on Jeremie Frimpong in place of Demirbay to freshen up the game (71'). Baumann was again able to save easily with an effort from Wendell to the near post (72'). The Werkself took more risks with Frimpong and Wendell playing higher up the pitch and Hoffenheim increasingly found it difficult to break free. Leon Bailey came on for Diaby late on (86') and, shortly after that, Baumgartner picked up a yellow card when he made a rugby tackle to stop the Jamaican (89'). There were three minutes of added time. A disguised shot from Bailey was saved by Baumann at the second attempt (90+2'). The final whistle followed.
Bayer 04 are back in action on matchday 29 with the derby at the BayArena against FC Köln. The kick off on Saturday, 17 April, is at 18.30 CEST.
TSG Hoffenheim: Baumann – Posch, Akpoguma (Nordtveid 88'), Richards – Kaderabek, Rudy (Kramaric 38'), Grillitsch, Baumgartner, Sessegnon – Bebou, Skov (Rutter 78')
Bayer 04: Hradecky – Jedvaj, S. Bender, Tapsoba, Wendell – Aránguiz, Palacios – Diaby (Bailey 86'), Demirbay (Frimpong 71'), Wirtz (Amiri 57') – Alario (Schick 57’)
Referee: Matthias Jöllenbeck (Freiburg)
Booked: Baumgartner – Wendell
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