Spirited performance doesn't cut it against clinical Wolfsburg

Hoffenheim failed to reward themselves in Wolfsburg, losing 3-0. An early VfL strike and an impressive André Schürrle seemed to leave the visitors shell-shocked for large parts of the first half. Markus Gisdol's team emerged from the dressing room a changed side, with Volland, Firmino, Zuber and Modeste all coming close, but they just couldn't find a way past Diego Benaglio.

Tactics and line-up:

Head coach Markus Gisdol made one change to the line-up that started Wednesday evening's match against Bremen and chose to play Nadiem Amiri instead of Adam Szalai. It was the Germany U19 international's Bundesliga debut following his first appearance in a matchday squad on Wednesday. Hoffenheim were without Sebastian Rudy, who picked up his fifth yellow in the game against Bremen. Furthermore, Sven Schipplock was sidelined with tonsillitis.

The inclusion of Amiri meant that Hoffenheim played in a 4-4-2 formation, with the usual back four of Andreas Beck, Ermin Bicakcic, Tobias Strobl and Jin-Su Kim. Amiri was used as a midfielder with Eugen Polanski, Pirmin Schwegler and Tarik Elyounoussi next to him. Roberto Firmino started in his usual position just off the striker, Kevin Volland.

Match highlights

3rd minute: GOAL for Wolfsburg. 1-0: André Schürrle seems eager to justify his hefty price tag and his first attack for the Wolves results in a goal. An unmarked Bas Dost pokes Schürrle's fine cross past Baumann.

15th minute: Schürrle beats Baumann, but a brave Andreas Beck tackle denies the World Champion a tap in to an empty net.

27th minute: GOAL for Wolfsburg. 2-0: It's that man Schürrle again. His shot from within the area hits the bar, but the ball bounces back into play and Kevin De Bruyne prods home to double Wolfsburg's lead.

33rd minute: Great effort by Volland! The Germany U21s skipper is doing his best to try and get score at least one goal before the break. His low strike after a brilliant one-two with Roberto Firmino had the keeper beaten, but it goes inches wide.

46th minute: Markus Gisdol must have found the right words at half time. Hoffenheim emerge from the dressing room with much more confidence. Fresh from the bench, Zuber opens the second half with a great run down the left wing and puts the ball through to Andreas Beck. The 27-year-old hesitates a moment too long and has his shot blocked.

51st minute: Bad news! Eugen Polanski sees yellow for a foul on De Bruyne. It's his fifth of the season and he'll have to watch next week's game against Stuttgart from the stands.

69th minute: How did that not go in? Modeste and Zuber combine well to get the ball to an unmarked Firmino. However, Benaglio gets down well to deny the forward. Hoffenheim have improved and it should be 2-1 by now.

71st minute: Unbelievable! It's Benaglio again! Modeste surges through a few flimsy Wolfsburg challenges and the forward's shot looks set to go in, but the VfL keeper manages to get his fingertips to it. Wolfsburg haven't found their stride in the second half, but Hoffenheim need to capitalise on these opportunities.

80th minute: SO CLOSE! It's the lively Firmino who jinks his way into the area and shoots, but his finish just lacks accuracy.

84th minute: GOAL for Wolfsburg. 3-0: It's Kevin De Bruyne with his second of the day. Schürrle and Dost are again involved in initiating the attack and the Belgium international escapes Kim on the right flank. Baumann is left no chance as De Bruyne buries the ball in far corner.

Moment of the match:

Hoffenheim dominated the second half. Markus Gisdol's team showed much more confidence in their attacks and threatened the Wolfsburg defence on several occasions. TSG put up a truly spirited second-half fight, but lacked efficiency. They need to become more clinical and make the most of their chances.

The number of the match: 16

Hoffenheim took 16 shots in the match, an impressive tally and means they had nearly twice as many as Wolfsburg (9). The attacking players worked hard and did well to work their way into the Wolfsburg area on several occasions, but their shots simply would not go in. Benaglio deserves credit for his second-half heroics that repeatedly denied the away side.

Match facts and statistics »

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