Germany: Bundesliga
2 - 0
(1 - 0)
B. Hübner (22), G. Rutter (51)
By Ultan Corcoran@UltanCorcoran

Hoffenheim defeat Bielefeld 2-0 to maintain pursuit of European football

Goals from Hubner and Rutter the difference despite TSG's lack of clinical edge up front.
TSG Hoffenheim played host to Arminia Bielefeld this afternoon in Sinsheim. The home side have hit somewhat of a slump in form recently, failing to register a win in their last three Bundesliga outings despite sitting not far off the European positions. Bielefeld have been on scintillating run since their 2-0 loss to Hertha back in early December, going undefeated in six games. However, the untimely 5th yellow card of Patrick Wimmer’s season meant the influential Austrian would miss out on the action today through suspension.

Even with Hoffenheim missing talisman Andrej Kramaric for the game, the home side started energetically while Bielefeld lived dangerously and fortunate not find themselves behind early on. Rutter was presented with the pick of the chances on 14 minutes. A brilliant cross from the right found the young striker unmarked but he couldn’t guide his header on target. Ortega cut a frustrated figure in the Bielefeld goal, demonstrating his anger towards his teammates below par defensive exertions.

The pressure finally told on 22 minutes when Hubner put his side 1-0 up. Another perfect right-wing delivery found the centre-half who thundered a header into the crossbar. Unfortunately for Ortega, the ball rebounded onto his back and narrowly bounced over the goal line before being cleared.

Bielefeld could have drawn themselves level not long after the half hour mark. The ball landed at the feet of Serra who was destined to score, but the vastly experienced Baumann pulled off a wonderful save to preserve his team’s early lead. Ortega redeemed himself brilliantly just before the interval – firstly, acrobatically denying Baumgartner from close range and then held on to Samassekou’s firm header from the resulting corner.

Six minutes after the restart Hoffenheim doubled their lead to 2-0 and this time Rutter could convert. After another brilliant Ortega save, the ball found its way back into the box from the left flank. Baumgartner’s run freed up space for the French man who controlled Dabbur’s cross with the right foot and blasted home past Ortega with his left.

Hoffenheim continued to dominate proceedings for practically the entirety of the remaining 30 minutes, constantly carving out attacking opportunities. Despite this, the home team really failed to kill off the chance of a Bielefeld resurrection by grabbing that all important third goal. Hoeness will be glad of the win, but will no doubt want an improvement in the clinical nature of his attackers going forward as more stern opposition lie wait down the line.

TSG will welcome Wolfsburg as opponents next Saturday in search of another win, while Bielefeld will take on Union Berlin in the Schuco Arena.

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