Bebou seals narrow Hoffenheim win over struggling Mainz
Hoffenheim substitute Ihlas Bebou scored with almost his first touch as they beat Bundesliga strugglers Mainz 1-0 away on Saturday to boost their hopes of qualifying for European football next season.
Bebou came on in the 38th minute for the injured Jacob Bruun Larsen and slotted home four minutes later against the run of play after collecting Diadie Samassekou's ball over the top of the Mainz midfield.
Victory drew Hoffenheim level on 42 points with Wolfsburg, but kept them seventh in the Bundesliga on goal difference, while Mainz stayed in 15th place, a point above the bottom three, after their fifth game in a row without victory.
The visitors also had a first-half penalty when Christoph Baumgartner was brought down in the Mainz box, but keeper Florian Mueller got down well to deny Steven Zuber from the spot.
Mainz put the ball in the back of the net in the 60th minute, but Taiwo Awoniyi's effort was ruled out after team mate Karim Onisiwo was adjudged to have blocked off Hoffenheim keeper Oliver Baumann.