Germany: Bundesliga
3 - 1
(3 - 0)
C. Baumgartner (8), A. Kramarić (41), I. Bebou (45), S. Nsoki (48)
M. Götze (54)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

15:30 Kickoffs: Hoffenheim top Frankfurt, Hertha and Augsburg with massive wins, Leipzig move third

Three relegation threatened teams were able to secure massively important wins in the latest set of Bundesliga 15:30 kickoffs. Hoffenheim, Augsburg, and Hertha all emerged winners over respective opponents Frankfurt, Union Berlin, and Stuttgart. 

Union's loss accorded RB Leipzig the chance to move up to third-place in the Bundesliga table; a chance they took with their second consecutive defeat of SC Freiburg in five days. 
In a wild and crazy encounter at the Prezero Arena in Sinsheim, Pellegrino Matarazzo's TSG 1899 Hoffenheim were able to snap a three-game winless run and top Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1. Hoffenheim move up to 14th place on 32 points with the crucial victory. Frankfurt - despite advancing to the DFB-Pokal Final this week - have now gone ten matchdays without a win. SGE trainer Oliver Glasner was ejected from the latest league loss.

TSG trainer Matarazzo had to do without two players from his previous XI. Pavel Kaderabek (knee injury) and Kevin Akpoguma (accumulated yellow suspension) were unable to participate. Grischa Prömel and Stanley Nsoki took the place of the two missing actors. Ihlas Bebou maintained his starting place, but moved over to take over Kaderabek's right wingback spot. Munus Dabbur and Christoph Baumgartner served as the two strikers.

Glasner was also missing two players due to injury. Almamy Touré made his first start of the season in place of the injured Tuta. The returning Jesper Lindstrøm took the place of stricken captain Sebastian Rode, with Daichi Kamada moving back to the six-slot alongside Djibril Sow. In a non-enforced change, Aurelio Buta was preferred to Eric Junior Dina Ebimbe at right wingback. Eintracht maintained their 3-4-3 shape.

The Sinsheimer hosts definitely began the game on the front foot. In several early dicey moments, the Kraichgauer were nearly able to punch through on goal. The early spunk paid off quickly. Andrej Kramaric shook off his markers and released Dennis Geiger just outside the area. Baumgarter was able to head Geiger's service in after misjudged marking from Buta and Touré.

Frankfurt weren't especially courageous in attempting to muster up a response. Glasner's men barely dared to venture forward. Touré's lack of match practice again manifested itself when, beaten by Dabbur, the SGE defender committed a tactical foul in the 15th and was booked. The Hessians continued to struggle in the attack. The advantage was nevertheless not doubled based on the fact that the TSG too were somewhat sloppy.

Matters settled into something of a sleepy stalemate until both sides traded massive chances some ten minutes before the conclusion of the half. Bebou and Kramaric couldn't get the ball over the line during a flurry in the 35th. Mario Götze saw a quality effort turned just wide by Ozan Kabak in the 37th. Two minutes after Götze's chance, Hoffenheim were awarded a penalty.

Kamada was judged to have hauled down Baumgartner in the box in the 39th. After a lengthy video review, Kramaric converted the 2-0 from the spot in the 41st. There were appeals for a penalty at the other end shortly thereafter. Matters became quite heated and match official Harm Osmers found himself under great duress.

Götze and Kevin Trapp were cautioned for dissent. In the first minute of added time, Glasner himself was thrown out of the match on a straight red. The distracted SGE were then mercilessly punished by the alert TSG. Geiger released Angelino at 45+3 and Bebou was able to polish off the Spanish wingbacks cross for the 3-0.

Matters got still more difficult for referee Osmers after the restart. Nsoki delivered a high boot to the just-subbed-on SGE attacker Paxten Aaronson in the 48th. There was little choice but to send the Hoffenheim defender off on the second straight red of the match. The Kraichgauer hosts would have to defend their 3-0 lead shorthanded.

Aaronson - on for Lindstrøm - remained very active on the right-hand side. The American prospect stung the palms of TSG keeper Oliver Baumann in the 54th. Baumann made a brilliant save, but Götze was able to hammer home the rebound for the 1-3. The Frankfurt coaching staff brought on striker Rafael Santos Borré in place of defender Touré in an effort to capitalize on the advantage.

There was some excitement for a time as the SGE frantically sent balls forward for Borré and Randal Kolo Muani. By the 70th minute, however, it looked as if Hoffenheim were able to adjust their defensive posture accordingly and soak up the Eintracht pressure. Kolo Muani did come close in the 84th while attacking counterpart Borré missed a chance deep into injury time.

The scoreline ended up holding.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, Hoffenheim's relegation rivals were also able to secure a massive three points for themselves. FC Augsburg held on to upset 1. FC Union Berlin at the WWK Arena. The 1-0 victory snaps a seven-game winless run for Enrico Maaßen's Fuggerstädter. Augsburg are now up to 13th place on 34 points.

Up north at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, Hertha BSC saved themselves from what could have been almost certain relegation this weekend. Charlottenburg's "alte Dame" held off VfB Stuttgart 2-1. Hertha, though they still are in last place, are only three points behind Stuttgart and VfL Bochum. Thomas Letsch's Bochum were unable to earn any points in a 0-2 away loss at Gladbach.

Union Berlin's loss gave RB Leipzig the chance to leapfrog both die Eisernen and league opponents SC Freiburg in the race for the Champions' League. Unfortunately for Freiburg, the Breisgau club suffered the their second consecutive home loss against RB Leipzig in five days. Marco Rose's German Red Bulls eliminated Freiburg from the Pokal on Tuesday, then took out the Breisgauer once again on Saturday 1-0.

Leipzig move up to third with the result.

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