Eight weeks to safety - Part two

Markus Gisdol had been in charge at TSG for 56 days when he saw his side beat Kaiserslautern 2-1 in the second leg of the relegation play-off to preserve their Bundesliga status. looks back at some intense, exciting and emotional days.

May 4th 2013 - Schipplock saves the day against Bremen

The backdrop in Bremen was an impressive one. The stadium on the Weser was covered in green and white but TSG worked tirelessly in aim of achieving a footballing miracle. Sven Schipplock, who was brought on in the 66th minute, scored in the 86th minute before equalising in stoppage time to bring Hoffenheim back from 2-0 down to 2-2 by the final whistle. It proved to be an invaluable point gained at Bremen. Both the manager and the players were delighted with the late comeback. There was plenty of hope that it wouldn't be the last wondrous moment.

May 11th 2013 – Home defeat to HSV

"Hoffenheim on the edge of the cliff” wrote die Welt. “Hoffenheim on the verge of relegation” was the headline in the Frankfurter Rundschau. “Only a miracle can save Hoffenheim now” said the Rhein-Neckar newspaper but how many of them would have believed in the miracle of Dortmund a week later? Against HSV, Hoffenheim struggled to get into the game until after the break. Despite that, they fell short against a Hamburg side that were clinical in front of goal.

May 18th 2013 - Salihovic holds his nerve

Up until the 76th minute, Dortmund held a 1-0 lead. TSG needed a win on the final day to have a chance of reaching the relegation play-off spot. What followed will stay etched in the memory of Hoffenheim fans for years to come. Two penalties for the away side, two goals from Sejad Salihovic, a red card for Roman Weidenfeller and then a goal for Dortmund, one that would have meant relegation for TSG, that was then ruled out. After all of that, there was joy to be had after hearing that Hannover had beaten Düsseldorf. TSG had triumphed against the Champions League finalists. Celebrations were without boundaries.

May 23rd 2013 – Relegation play-off home leg: 3-1 win against Kaiserslautern

What an atmosphere. The WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena was buzzing. Roberto Firmino scored twice before super-sub Sven Schipplock found the third. In the second half, TSG struggled before finding their feet again. Nobody was over confident that relegation was secured after their win in the first leg. “It starts at 0-0 again in Kaiserslautern. FCK are strong in attack and we will have to be at our best for 90 minutes. We'll have to add to our score in the return leg,” said Kevin Volland.”¨

May 27th 2013 – Relegation play-off away leg: 2-1 win at the Betzenberg – Safety

What a sensational evening at the Betzenberg. Dietmar Hopp spoke to fans at the celebrations in the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena in the days afterwards about the “third miracle of TSG” (the first he hailed as the win against Bayer Leverkusen in the German Cup in 2003, the second was the promotion to the Bundesliga and the consequent top of the table spot in January). The players worked extremely hard and two headers from David Abraham and Jannik Vestergaard guided the team to a 2-1 win victory. Safety! Top flight! Beer showers! Celebration! Ecstasy!

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