Hoffenheim grabbed their first goal of 2010

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim grabbed their first goal of 2010 and their first win since the end of November after coasting past a valiant Hannover 96 at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena, the score 2-1.

Hannover 96, who hadn't won since October, actually had the better of the opening exchanges, and had chances to take the lead- however, Jiri Stajner couldn't find the target on 25 minutes, and Timo Hildebrand beat away Leon Andreasen's free kick on 28 minutes.

The away side were made to pay for spurning those chances on 35 minutes; after great work from Thomas Obasi, who was back from African Cup of Nations duty for Nigeria, the ball was slipped back to Carlos Eduardo, who struck across the ball and swept Hoffenheim into the lead. On 40 minutes, Hoffenheim doubled their lead; the ever-elusive Eduardo jinked into the box before being stopped in his tracks by Christian Schulz, a clear penalty. One of TSG's Bosnian contingent, Sejad Salihovic, stepped up and placed the ball to the left of the Fromlowitz to give Hoffenheim a 2-0 half-time lead

Hannover 96 started the second half positively, and were rewarded by Arouna Kone's goal on 51 minutes to get them back into the game, the on-loan Sevilla man finishing confidently past Hildebrand to give Hannover a real fighting chance of taking something from the contest.

However, the away side never really threatened to get an equaliser, and indeed Hoffenheim looked more likely to grab the next goal, Ibisevic just sliding his effort past the post on 74 minutes after good individual play.

It was a hugely important win for Hoffenheim, who remain are just about in touch still with the front runners- Ralf Rangnick's side are seven points back from sixth place and from what would be a shot at next season's UEFA Europa League.


Sejad Salihovic
The win today was important- now with this boost we can look ahead to Bremen on Tuesday night. We made life tricky for ourselves, but in the end the three points is all that counts.

Vedad Ibisevic
You sensed that we didn't have enough self-belief in the last few weeks, so therefore it was important that we won today.

Andreas Ibertsberger
We knew how important the game was today, and we made sure that we gave everything from the start until the finish.

Christian Schulz
You couldn't criticise us for the effort we put in. We were fully committed and never gave up. Of course we are disappointed, but we must make sure that we get ourselves out of this situation as quickly as possible.

Mirko Slomka
It was a deserved victory for Hoffenheim, because they were technically and tactically better than us. We knew that we would have to work extremely hard, and that our wide men would have to be switched on for the entire duration of the game. We fought for every 50/50 ball, but we lacked the cutting edge after getting the goal back in the second half. By the end, Hoffenheim seemed distracted with the prospect of the Bremen game on Tuesday, but unfortunately we couldn't exploit this.

Ralf Rangnick
You could tell by the first 30 minutes that neither team had won in a long time, therefore when we took the lead it was massive relief Afterwards, the team showed what it could do. When we went 2-0 up, we took the foot off the gas and stopped creating chances, and then out of nothing they scored to make it 2-1. After that, it became a lot more tense again, but at the end we were happy with our first win of the new calendar year.

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