Due to injuries suffered by his players in recent international matches, manager Holger Stanislawski had to make two changes to his team. Sejad Salihovic suffered a knee injury while playing for Bosnia in mid-week, and was replaced by Dominik Kaiser in the centre of midfield. Chinedu Obasi was also replaced in the starting eleven by Peniel Mlapa, after the Nigerian complained of fatigue after travelling to Madagascar and Bangladesh with the national team.
An even game, but a two-goal lead for Hoffenheim
Only 2,000 fans travelled from Hoffenheim to Mainz, but it was the away side that started the game off brightest. A good move, begun by Dominik Kaiser and Roberto Firmino, presented an opportunity for Ryan Babel, but his shot only found the Mainz goalkeeper Heinz Muller (6). Mainz came back into the game and looked dangerous on the counter-attack. In the 12th minute, Eric Choupo-Moting ended a mazy run by crossing for Sami Allagui, but the striker couldn't divert his shot goalwards. Then Hoffenheim took the lead. Roberto Firmino picked the pocket of a Mainz defender and ran straight to goal, having the composure to round the keeper and slot into an empty net to put Hoffenheim in the lead (16). The game remained a tight affair, until Hoffenheim got their second just before half-time. Ryan Babel dribbled into the box and was unfairly challenged by Zdenek Pospech. Referee Guido Winkmann had no doubt awarding a penalty, and Babel dusted himself down to slot home the spot-kick with aplomb.
Hoffenheim wrap up the points
Again it was the away side that came out of the blocks the quicker after the restart, although the first good chance fell to the hosts, as Tom Starke had to be alert to keep out Allagui again (52). Stanislawski reacted by bringing on new signing Daniel Johnson for his Hoffenheim debut as a replacement for Mlapa. And Johnson was soon involved in the action. On 74 minutes he released Babel to run from half-way, beat two defenders and plant a sweet shot into the corner to make it 0-3. And a few minutes later the points were sealed when substitute Sven Schipplock's shot deflected off a Mainz defender and crept into the net. After a superb performance and a heavy win to boot, Hoffenheim have finally achieved their first Bundesliga win at Mainz.