1899 trainer, Ralf Rangnick, had a lot to think about ahead of the match up against the Reds. Salid Salihovic was suspended, Josip Simunic injured and Boris Vukcevic did not cover himself in glory in midweek. It saw 4 changes made to side that beat Ingolstadt, as Gylfi Sigurdsson, Tobias Weis, Demba Ba and Isaac Vorsah, who recovered in time for the match, came into the starting line-up.
Both teams adopted the long ball game in the opening stages, but it was 1899 Hoffenheim who were having more success. Ralf Rangnick's side showed glimpses of fast, flowing football, but were missing the final ball. Clear-cut chances were at a premium. Then in the 15th minute, Weis played in Ba, who took the shot first time aiming for the back post, only for Florian Fromlowitz to throw himself through the air to push it away from danger.
Schmiedebach takes an early bath
The chance served as a wake up call for both teams, as the guests began working themselves into the game more. However, the match took a turn for the worse for Hannover on the 18th minute, when Manuel Schmiedebach was shown a second yellow card, putting a premature end to his evening. Having picked up his first yellow 10 minutes earlier for a tactical foul, the 21-year old received his second yellow for a professional foul. Hoffenheim immediately took advantage of the extra man by dominating possession, as Hannover dropped a lot deeper allowing the hosts to dictate the play.
It looked like the teams were set to go in at half-time level, but Hoffenheim had other ideas. Isaac Vorsah should have opened the scoring after getting his head on the end of Sigurdsson's free kick, but saw it fly just over the bar. Then, less than 30 seconds later, Sigurdsson used the resulting confusion to steal the ball and slam an effort at goal and thanks to a fortunate deflection saw his shot loop over the head of Florian Fromlowitz and into the back of the net. It was a hammer blow before half time as referee Gräfe blew his whistle, with Hoffenheim deservedly leading at the break.
With one, come many
The second half started with the home side firmly on the front foot. 3 minutes in Chiedu Obasi went on a mazy run past three opponents only to be brought down unceremoniously in the box. Sigurdsson stepped up to take the spot kick and duly converted for his second of the evening. The goal scorer then turned provider when his whipped free kick found the head of Demba Ba to score his 6th goal of the season, making it 3-0 on the night.
1899 were content to play out the rest of the match, but sent their opponents home with a bad taste in their mouths when Peniel Mlapa made it four on the 71st minute. After good work by Sebastian Rudy the youngster made the chance look easy and sent the fans into jubilant celebrations. It was yet another demonstration of the team's strengths as they ran out deserved winners, sending them into third place on goal difference and 6 points behind second placed Mainz 05.