Ibisevic haunts Hoffenheim

Ibisevic haunts Hoffenheim


Sejad Salihovic replied with a penalty for the hosts, still smarting from last week's 7-1 humiliation at Bayern Munich, but it was not enough as they continued a disappointing start for new coach Markus Babbel, himself an ex-Stuttgart manager.

Hoffenheim have won once in six Bundesliga outings since Babbel replaced Holger Stanislawski in February and have dropped to 12th in the table with 30 points, seven clear of the relegation play-off spot.

Stuttgart are seventh on 36 points.

"I think we were too naive over the 90 minutes although we played much better in the second half," said Babbel.

Hoffenheim could not have made a worse start as Khalid Boulahrouz chipped the ball over the defence and Bosnia striker Ibisevic hooked it in with his left foot.

"That was too easy," said Babbel as he analysed a replay of the goal for German television.

The same combination set up Stuttgart's second goal two minutes before halftime as the Dutchman produced a low cross from the right and Ibisevic got in between two defenders to score with a diving header, his ninth league goal of the season.

Hoffenheim fought back in the second half and reduced the arrears in the 74th minute when Salihovic fired his penalty into the roof of the net after Fabian Johnson was tripped by Francisco Rodriguez.

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