1899 convincing on their travels

1899 Hoffenheim remain unbeaten against 1. FC Nürnberg! The penultimate weekend of Bundesliga action saw the Sinsheim side come from behind to beat their Bavarian counterparts 1-2 in the final away match of the season. Despite stuttering early on Marco Pezzaiuoli's charges were convincing in an exciting and intense encounter, putting in an encouraging performance on both a physical and footballing level. Wollscheid opened the scoring, before Firmino equalised and Sigurdsson showed his clinical edge by finishing the game of with an 86th minute strike.

Both teams showed no fear in going forward and contributed to a very lively start in the match. After two failed attempts going forward for Hoffenheim it was the hosts who created the first real chance. Christian Eigler, Nürnberg's top scorer so far this season, found space in the box, but could only crash his effort back off the crossbar. The chance saw the home side go from strength the strength as Hoffenheim were pinned inside their own half. Just after the quarter hour mark the pressure told when 1899's frailties from set-pieces were exploited giving the hosts the lead. Mehmet Ekici, on loan from FC Bayern München, played a flat ball into the box where centre-back Philip Wollscheid pounced before seeing his effort take a wicked deflection off of Marvin Compper past the stranded Starke.

The goal gave FCN a timely boost, while 1899 were left floundering. It took them another ten minutes to find their feet though, as they began to work themselves into the match, creating noteworthy chances for the very first time. Therefore it seemed fitting that having conceded from a set-piece that they scored from one too. Gylfi Sigurdsson whipped in a teasing ball from the left and Roberto Firmino burst between two Nürnberg defenders, getting down low to head past Schäfer just before the break. It was the Brazilian's second goal this season and sent the teams in level at half time with Hoffenheim hoping to build on their improved performance and Nürnberg looking to cling on to their slim European hopes.

No changes for either side as 1899 started the second half still very much on the front foot putting pressure on the hosts, but leaving themselves open to the counter attack. It was an evenly fought contest with both teams showing a lot of character, which initially led to very few chances and far too many sloppy passes. Babel tried to inject some life into the match as he broke down the left five minutes in, but Schäfer parried his drilled cross away from danger. Neither team was willing to give their opponents an inch, which created a very scrappy match, yet Babel continued to be the bright spark for the visitors. After turning well the Dutchman powered his way into the box and only a last ditch interception from Chandler could prevent him from scoring.

Hecking reacted by making two changes with Ekici and Cohen making way for Jens Hageler and Marek Mintal, who was playing in his last ever home match after announcing that he would retire come the end of the season. The "Phantom" almost had the perfect send off too when, seconds after coming on, he got on the end of a knock down from Julian Schieber and forced a good save out of Tom Starke at his near post. Hoffenheim had been momentarily reduced to long-range efforts as both Alaba and Sigurdsson pulled the trigger from range to no avail. Vedad Ibisevic came on with just under ten minutes remaining for the impressive Babel, as the spectators had prepared themselves for accepting a point apiece. However, it wasn't to be when four minutes before the end when Gylfi Sigurdsson capitalised on a mistake by Wollscheid, before making no mistake with his effort and finishing low into the far corner. For once the fortune went Hoffenheim's way and they closed out the match to emerge victorious. It's their first away win in five and sees them remain unbeaten against their Bavarian opponents.

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