Late Frings strike sinks 1899

Old habits die hard as 1899 Hoffenheim can attest to. In their first match since the winter break, the Kraichgau outfit fell again to a late goal by their opponents, which in this case saw Werder Bremen steal all three points. Pizarro opened the scoring before Vukcevic equalised in the 87th minute, but the game had a sting in it's tail when Torsten Frings struck in the dying seconds to seal the victory for the home side.

In his first ever match as the manager of 1899 Hoffenheim, Marco Pezzaiuoli had to contend with injuries and suspension when deciding his starting line-up. Sejad Salihovic was suspended having picked up a 5th yellow card in the final game before the winter break. Roberto Firmino travelled to Bremen, but had to be content with a seat in the stands as he wasn't granted permission to play in time. Gylfi Sigurdsson missed out after contracting a virus. Ibertsberger came through a late fitness test to start at left-back, while Tom Starke was preferred in goal. Tobias Weis returned in midfield alongside Sebastian Rudy and new signing David Alaba. The only surprise in Thomas Schaff's team was the inclusion of 19-year old Felix Kroos at the expense of German international Marko Marin.

The match started off at a lively pace with some wonderfully slick passing moves being put together by both teams. New signing Alaba didn't waste time in showing his quality as he whipped a free-kick right onto the head of Isaac Vorsah in the 8th minute. Unfortunately the Ghanaian centre-back could not get his effort on target. Moments later after a corner caused a goalmouth scramble and out of the chaos Werder Bremen struck the bottom the post with their effort. After the frantic opening, the match slowed down somewhat and chances were far and few between, mainly due to the hard work of Vorsah and Compper. Hoffenheim then had the ball cleared off the line, when Vedad Ibisevic failed to convert both chances he had from another Alaba set-piece. The hosts made 1899 pay for missing the chance in the 35th minute. Claudio Pizarro was the man on hand to open the scoring when he demonstrated the type of class that Werder so sorely missed in the first half of the season, finding the bottom right hand corner with his guided effort. The goal put the home side in the ascendency, but were unable to score a second despite having chances to before half time.

Jaissle entered the game in place of Ibertsberger, who picked up a knock in the first half, while captain Beck switched over to the left side. It took the match a while to get going in the second half, but the first chance went Hoffenheim's way when Boris Vukcevic found Weis with his cross. However, Weis, the smallest player on the 1899 team, could only direct his header over the bar. After this Bremen began exerting more pressure in search of the second goal. Pizarro was at the forefront of every good move going forward for the home side and if his touch had served him better after some route one football he would have been one-on-one with Starke. Fortunately this time Starke was aware of the danger and was smartly off his line to collect the ball, before the keeper made a good save from Arnautovic's shot that looked destined for the top corner. On the other hand all of Hoffenheim's best moves were going through Andreas Beck down the left side. Tagoe was introduced late on by Pezzaiuoli as 1899 searched for the equaliser. Then in the 87th minute, it arrived, when Vukcevic brought a long ball from Compper under his spell before slamming home for the all-important leveller. The new manager then brought on Simunic in an attempt to sure things up at the back, but the match had a late sting in the tail once again for the Kraichgau outfit. This time it was a wonderful Torsten Frings free-kick that beat Starke and won it for the hosts late on, while 1899 were again left nursing their wounds following a late goal costing them the match.


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