Augsburg hopes dented
Last Updated: 13/04/14 7:42pm
Sejad Salihovic celebrates his goal
Augsburg's outside hopes of qualifying for Europe next season were effectively ended by Hoffenheim, who moved to within two points of the Bavarians in the Bundesliga table with a 2-0 victory on Sunday.
Sejad Salihovic and Jannik Vestergaard both scored for Markus Gisdol's men, who had goalkeeper Jens Grahl to thank for keeping only their second clean sheet of the season.
Grahl kept Markus Weinzierl's men at bay with numerous saves and earned as much of the credit for the win as Hoffenheim's goalscorers.
There was nothing he could do to stop Sascha Molders in the second minute, but the post came to Hoffenheim's rescue on that occasion.
Eugen Polanski then wasted Hoffenheim's first chance when he was clean through on goal, but wasted too much time before going to ground, appealing for a penalty.
Hoffenheim took the lead in the 19th minute when their set-piece specialist Salihovic did what he does best.
He has certainly delivered more potent free-kicks than this one, but Marwin Hitz was still unable to keep it out as it crept inside the post which was supposed to be covered by the Augsburg keeper's wall.
Hoffenheim doubled their lead with Vestergaard's first goal of season.
After Hitz had punched the ball out, it returned to the danger area where it was cleared off the line by Paul Verhaegh. The ball looped up for the Hoffenheim defender to nod in from close range.
Salihovic went close with another free-kick early in the second half, and then it was up to Grahl to keep Hoffenheim in the game.
He denied Halil Altintop before making two great saves from Alexander Esswein, also denying Andre Hahn as Augsburg threw everything they could his way.
Raphael Holzhauser went closest to breaking his resistance but, after pushing his effort behind for a corner, Grahl denied Hahn again to preserve his first ever clean sheet, and only Hoffenheim's second of the season.
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