Pride in Bayern defeat

League leaders FC Bayern München were restricted to their first 1-0 win of the league season after a resilient display by TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, but one mistake allowed Mario Gomez to score the only goal of the game. Danny Williams came close twice for the hosts inside the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena, but Tom Starke was able to keep a clean sheet against his former club.

There was a total of 11 changes across both teams, demonstrating the different mindsets of the managers. Marco Kurz was looking for a reaction following a disappointing performance in Augsburg and swapped six players which included the returns of Takashi Usami, Daniel Williams and Igor de Camargo. Jupp Heynckes on the other hand focussed on resting some key players with former TSG favourite Tom Starke starting in goal instead of Manuel Neuer. Despite being the clear second-favourites in the game, Hoffenheim started solidly, pressing well and having some of the ball themselves. In fact, the first two chances of the match came for the hosts and Daniel Williams. A Kevin Volland free kick was lifted into the box but with no one winning the header, the ball bounced on to the American international whose shot went just wide of the near post. He came close again minutes later, driving out of midfield and shooting from 20 yards, but once more the ball went a few inches the wrong side of the upright.

Hoffenheim couldn't get to the interval on level terms however. In the 38th minute Bayern took advantage of their first real chance, gifted to them by a sloppy pass from de Camargo. Jerome Boateng's diagonal ball was headed toward the penalty spot by Franck Ribéry and Mario Gomez flicked it over the on-rushing Heurelho Gomes. The ball rolled slowly towards goal but David Abraham couldn't get there before it crossed the line to give the visitors a 1-0 lead at the break. It wasn't a completely undeserved one, but Hoffenheim surely will have felt they could have been the side in front if only they had been more clinical with their chances.

Schweinsteiger denied twice by woodwork

Stephan Schröck had made a decent impression in the opening 45 minutes in what was his first start for TSG since December, and he continued to look threatening in the second period. His dangerous ball across the box in the 50th minute was almost turned in by de Camargo but Dante cut it out. Then fifteen minutes later, the on-loan Gladbach striker switched the play to Schröck and his powerful strike stung the palms of Starke. Bayern still hadn't created too much from open play but they almost extended their lead further from two very similar free kicks that saw Bastian Schweinsteiger hit the woodwork twice. Besides being rooted to the spot by the German's two strikes, Gomes was looking confident in goal and in the air. He added to that performance with some fine saves towards the end of the game, once from Ribéry and once from a ferocious David Alaba strike.

Hoffenheim couldn't provide any more danger up the other end though, despite introducing Roberto Firmino, Joselu and Eren Derdiyok. While it is TSG's fourth consecutive defeat, it is coupled with a much improved performance and a very respectable result against a side who have scored more than one goal in 19 of their 24 Bundesliga games this season. Although Hoffenheim are left five points adrift from FC Augsburg following their rivals' win on Saturday, a similar performance against bottom-of-the-table Greuther Fürth next week could see them pick up a vital three points in Marco Kurz's side's fight to stay in the top flight.

Matt Hardy

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim:
Gomes – Ochs, Abraham, Vestergaard, Johnson – Williams, Weis – Schröck (76' Derdiyok), Volland (70' Joselu), Usami (46' Roberto Firmino) – de Camargo

FC Bayern München: Starke – Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Alaba – Martinez, Schweinsteiger – Müller, Shaqiri (64' Luis Gustavo), Ribéry – Gomez (75' Mandzukic)

Goals: 0-1 Gomez (38')
Yellow cards: Williams, Schröck, Derdiyok – Boateng
Thorsten Kinhöfer

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