BERLIN – A goal from defender and Leipzig captain Willi Orban one minute from time allowed Leipzig to salvage a 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim on Monday, in an electric duel in which locals and visitors were always looking to score a goal.
With no room for speculation, Leipzig and Hoffenheim showed at Leipzig’s Red Bull Arena why they are two of the most attractive teams in the German Bundesliga.
Both teams’ attacking spirit led to a thrilling duel in which only the lack of success at the final whistle prevented a true festival of goals.
There were more than enough chances for both Leipzig and Hoffenheim to increase their score, but both fell short of expectations.
Starting with Hoffenheim, who, with spectacular attacks, had up to three chances before Croatian Andrej Kramaric scored the 1-0 in the 22nd minute after sending Leipzig’s Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi’s rebound into the net after a first shot from Brazilian Joelinton.
The goal did not deter Leipzig, who, despite the risk of Hoffenheim’s dazzling counter-attacks, eagerly sought the equalizer, which was avoided in the last play of the first half by visiting goalkeeper Oliver Baumann when he miraculously cleared a shot by Austrian Konrad Laimer with his foot.
It was not the only superb action of the Hoffenheim goalkeeper who avoided the home team’s equalizer in the 54th minute with another classy intervention, after a header from Leipzig captain Willi Orban.
But even as Leipzig proved continuously dangerous, their opponents were no less incisive, and they nearly increased their lead five minutes from time with a header from their Hungarian striker Adam Szalai forcing the local goalkeeper to shine.
However, the Hoffenheim goalkeeper could do nothing to prevent Orban’s late goal, which he scored in the 89th minute, finally achieving the 1-1 draw, after a left-footed cross from Marcel Halstenberg.
Leipzig, which had to make do without their striker Timo Werner due to illness, stays in fourth place of the Bundesliga, the last spot to qualify for the Champions League.
The draw allows fourth-placed Leipzig to stay alive in the fight for third place with Moenchengladbach, and Hoffenheim to keep a close eye on European places, now being only three points below them.