Hoffenheim show true grit to earn point in Gladbach

After a disastrous first half, Hoffenheim battled back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 and earn an important point away against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Patrick Herrmann and Tony Jantschke had taken advantage of defensive errors in the first half, but in the second 45, Hoffenheim were in control. Kevin Volland and Roberto Firmino combined to pull one goal back, before Sejad Salihovic rifled in a penalty kick to level the scores.

Back-to-back wins were the goal for Hoffenheim and after last weekend's derby win against Stuttgart, a trip to Gladbach was all that stood in their way. The suspension to Eugen Polanski and an injury to David Abraham meant that Sejad Salihovic moved into midfield and Tobias Strobl into the centre of defence.

Sadly for TSG, their desire to win two consecutive league games, something they've never managed under Markus Gisdol, got off to the worst possible start. A long ball over the top was not dealt with by an out-rushing Koen Casteels and his sliced clearance was lobbed into the empty net by Patrick Herrmann. The early goal left Hoffenheim reeling and aside from Kevin Volland's long-range effort, they offered little in attack. With Gladbach sensing their opponent's insecurity, they struck again. A corner from Raffael was not dealt with by the back four and Tony Jantschke found himself unmarked to nod in past Sebastian Rudy on the line at the back post.

TSG in shock

Gladbach's intricate passing nearly brought them a third on the counterattack, but Niklas Süle cleared off the line to deny Herrmann his second. Gisdol's men tried to counterattack and pose a threat themselves, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen wasn't troubled. Kai Herdling found some space in the area and although his shot beat the Gladbach goalkeeper, it also flew past the far post. Gladbach tightened their grip at the back, reducing Hoffenheim to long-range efforts that left Markus Gisdol's men two goals down at the break.

Despite the arrival of Jiloan Hamad for the second half, Hoffenheim took a while to get into their groove. With Volland and Firmino though, TSG always pose a threat and the pair soon linked up to get Gisdol's side back in the game. Firmino nipped in at the front post to poke Volland's cross in and give the visitors a renewed sensed of purpose. Substitute Hamad had a good chance to equalise but his free header went over the bar.

Salihovic spot on

Inevitably, with TSG searching for an equaliser, Gladbach continued to threaten on the break. Nevertheless, Casteels and his defence kept the home side quiet and as the final quarter of an hour approached, Gisdol threw on Anthony Modeste. Strong running from Fabian Johnson forced Martin Stranzl into a clumsy challenge in the box and with the equaliser at his feet, Salihovic made no mistake, drilling past ter Stegen from twelve yards to make it 2-2.

Having conceded an equaliser, the home side were depleted and despite Hoffenheim's best efforts, they couldn't find a late winner. But Markus Gisdol's side can be pleased with a point considering the precarious position they were in at half time. This point may prove to be even more important ahead of Wolfsburg's visit to the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena on the first Sunday in March (15:30 CET).

Jonathan Harding

Borussia Mönchengladbach: ter Stegen – Korb, Jantschke, Stranzl, Daems – Kramer, Xhaka (89' Mlapa) – Herrmann, Hrgota (86' Younes) – Raffael (82' Nordtveit), Kruse

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim: Casteels – Beck, Süle, Strobl (76' Vestergaard), Johnson – Salihovic, Rudy – Volland, Firmino, Herdling (46' Hamad) – Schipplock (76' Modeste)

Goals: 1-0 Herrmann (4'), 2-0 Jantschke (18'), 2-1 Firmino (57'), 2-2 Salihovic (81' pen.)

Yellow cards: Strobl

Referee: Tobias Stieler

Attendance: 49,088

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