Hoffenheim have bounced back from a heavy defeat with a 2-1 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga's Sunday action. Eintracht Braunschweig grabbed their first point of the season at home to Nuremberg.
Mönchengladbach had the chance to go fourth in this match, while Hoffenheim were less concerned with the table than with atoning for a 6-2 humiliation by Stuttgart in round four. And atone they did – the difference between now and two weeks ago was immediately apparent.
Hoffenheim looked solid at the back, and rising young striker Kevin Volland nearly put them ahead early with a nifty shot off a turn that clattered against the post.
As the first half wore on, Mönchengladbach enjoyed up to two-thirds of possession but couldn't find a way through the hosts' defensive ranks. And just when it looked as though the first half would end goalless, a short range Anthony Modeste header was deflected into the net.
Hoffenheim's lead was somewhat lucky, and Gladbach immediately set about looking for an equalizer after the break. Raffael blasted straight at keeper Koen Casteels from a wide-open position, and Kevin Volland caught out the Foals a minute later with a low left-footed shot. Hoffenheim had a two-goal lead after 54 minutes.
With a quarter of an hour left, Branimir Hrogota bulled his way through Hoffenheim's back line and gave Gladbach a lifeline. But although the Foals kept knocking, Hoffenheim wouldn't let them in and ran out 2-1 winners.
"I think everyone could sense that we were very conscious of defense today," Hoffenheim coach Markus Gisdol told reporters after the match. "We always reminded ourselves to keep four or five men behind the ball."
Braunschweig, Nuremberg draw
In Sunday’s late match, Eintracht Braunschweig went looking for their first points of the season when they hosted winless Nuremberg.
The newly promoted side were buoyed by a sense of possibility. Karim Bellarabi nearly put them ahead early, but his first touch let him down.
Instead, against the run of play, Nuremberg grabbed the lead in minute 28. Timothy Chandler pushed the ball up the right flank and found Adam Hlousek in the middle. The goal crowned the Czech midfielder’s return from a long injury.
Daniel Ginczek narrowly missed doubling Nuremberg’s advantage in the initial minute of the second half. After that, it was all Braunschweig. The hosts generated chances galore but missed them all until minute 70, when Omar Elabdellaoui blasted home from close range.
Braunschweig had twice as many shots on goal as the visitors, but couldn’t manufacture a winning goal. That was down to a fantastic performance by Nuremberg’s keeper.
"Today Eintracht Braunschweig played against Rafael Schäfer," Braunschweig sports director Marc Arnold said.
But Eintracht remain last in the table with a single point, while Nuremberg are third-from-bottom on three points.