Before this clash only goal difference separated 1899 Hoffenheim and 1. FSV Mainz 05. Ralf Rangnick's side were looking to build on a two game unbeaten run and started the brighter at Rhein Neckar arena. Carlos Eduardo brought Heinz Müller into action after just three minutes; a statement of intent from the home side. It took the visitors almost 20 minutes to respond to the initial pressure, when Polanski's effort missed Hildbrand's post by inches.
The Mainz threat increased as the half progressed, and it was Thomas Tuchel's side who looked the more likely to score before the break. Polanski almost took the initiative again on the half hour mark, but his shot skidded wide once more.
Hoffenheim returned after the break with renewed vigour and were unlucky not to be rewarded within the first ten minutes of the second period. The home side almost took the lead through Ibisevic following Carlos Eduardo's electric counter attack. Unfortunately the striker's effort caused Müller few problems in the Mainz goal.
The breakthrough finally came with 20 minutes to play. The visitors took the lead through Aristide Bancé following some direct build up play in the midfield. The Burkina Faso international striker found himself one on one with Hildebrand at the edge of the box, and fired past the inside post, despite the Hoffenheim keeper's best attempt to prevent the goal with his fingertips.
Hoffenheim slip one place to eleventh in the Bundesliga, two points adrift of reigning champions Wolfsburg.
I would much rather have celebrated a win on my Bundesliga debut.
We worked hard today, because Mainz played well. We didn't deserve to lose this game.
It was a catastrophic game today, and neither side really deserved to get the win. We cannot be happy with our team performance and at the moment we just aren't creating enough goal scoring chances.
Today's game was a typical goalless draw. Mainz defended well and we didn't take our chances in front of goal.
We didn't really give a good account of ourselves. The first half was really poor and we should've been a lot more direct in going for the win. Mainz only had a few chances as well and we both deserved a draw based on the first half. The first 20 minutes of the second half were a little quieter and we didn't attack as much. After some periods of pressure it was clear to me that it would be difficult. We often chose the wrong option when we were on the attack. Tobias Weis was our best player, but that's not right; he's only just come back from a month's absence due to injury.
We were happy to get the win away from home. We were very focussed and we concentrated on the task in hand. We were also quite relaxed on the ball. Then Aristide brought us into the lead. Now we've got past the milestone of 34 points. But it makes no sense for us to rethink our overall goals for the season. We've got to continue working hard, as though we need every point.