Eintracht Frankfurt and Hoffenheim played out an untidy 0-0 draw at the Commerzbank-Arena on Friday night.
The most significant event was the red card shown to Timothy Chandler, who appeared to do little wrong following one of many scuffles as both sides battled to gain the advantage over the other by pulling ahead in fourth place.
The result leaves both sides on 26 points, with neither being able to pull away in the Champions League qualification position.
Whilst the first half threatened to give the game its first goal despite tackles flying in from all corners, the second period was marred with countless interruptions and stoppages in play as tempers flared on both sides.
The first half accentuated both sides desire to battle for fourth spot, with tackles and duels commensurate to the imprecise technical ability on display, with the referee’s inability to curb the hostile nature of the game equally emphasised.
Within the first ten minutes, Marco Fabián somehow escaped receiving a yellow card after taking out Hoffenheim keeper Oliver Baumann on the slide, whilst just over twenty minutes later the referee failed to spot a clear elbow from David Abraham on Sandro Wagner.
However, despite the feisty temperament of both sets of players, there were moments that threatened to break the deadlock. Alex Meier should have done better with the first real chance of the game, but the 33-year-old’s right-footed volley from Haris Seferović’s cross fell kindly into the arms of Baumann.
Hoffenheim’s keeper was forced to make a smarter save eight minutes later from Omar Mascarell’s left-foot drive, before denying Frankfurt’s captain again three minutes before the break.
Although the hosts looked more threatening of the game, Hoffenheim were not without chances in the half. Niklas Süle may have done better from a near-post flick on following a corner, only managing to head over, whilst Jeremy Toljan’s left-foot volley into the side netting following a one-two with Lukas Rupp was equally as harmless. Benjamin Hübner thought he had headed the visitors in front two minutes before the break, but the linesman correctly ruled out his effort from a free-kick for offside.
Unfortunately for the outcome of the game, the linesman’s co-official and referee Christian Dingert would become the subject of intense discussion after his bizarre second half performance and a lack of opportunities for both sides. A match he undoubtedly failed to control, Dingert brandished the first yellow card of the game to Fabián in the 52nd minute, an amazing statistic given the overly spirited character of the first half.
Sandro Wagner and Nadiem Amiri were more focused on winning personal spats than helping the visitors find a winner, whilst Timothy Chandler, despite his undeserved red, was equally as guilty of misdemeanours.
The only impact that wasn’t physically harmful came from Eintracht Frankfurt’s substitute Ante Rebić, who had an effort deflected wide after cutting inside on to his left foot.
However, eight minutes before the end Dingert sent off Timothy Chandler after a scuffle erupted from a clash between Mark Uth and Bastian Oczipka, however replays suggested that Chandler was by no means a noticeable culprit in the incident.
Neither side could fathom a chance to win the game in the time remaining, meaning Borussia Dortmund could leapfrog both teams tomorrow with a victory over 1. FC Köln tomorrow.