High-flying Hoffenheim deals Bayern its 2nd Bundesliga loss
BERLIN (AP) — Andrej Kramaric’s first-half strike was enough for Hoffenheim to beat Bayern Munich 1-0 as the Bundesliga leaders fell to just their second defeat of the season on Tuesday.
Kramaric let fly from distance after Mats Hummels failed to properly clear and Bayern reserve ’keeper Sven Ulreich was unable to keep the effort out, despite getting his hand to the ball in the 21st minute.
Ulreich was playing in place of the injured Manuel Neuer, who hopes to be back for the league showdown with Borussia Dortmund at the weekend - before next week’s visit of Real Madrid in the Champions League quarterfinals.
Only Rafinha’s last-ditch tackle had stopped Kramaric getting the home side off to a flying start in the second minute, but Hoffenheim maintained the pressure and again went close leaving Ulreich to berate his defense.
But Ulreich himself should have done better to stop Kramaric getting the goal that had been threatened for the previous 20 minutes.
“It shouldn’t happen. We didn’t play well in the first half... The second half was much better, but the chances didn’t go in,” Bayern winger Arjen Robben said.
Robert Lewandowski struck the crossbar for Bayern before the break, and he was denied by a brilliant save from Oliver Baumann after it.
The Poland striker also went close in injury time as Hoffenheim held on to consolidate third place - the last to guarantee Champions League qualification.
“I said before the game that I’d be satisfied with a draw. The win is unbelievable,” Hoffenheim backer Dietmar Hopp said after his side’s first ever victory over Bayern at the 18th attempt.
Hoffenheim captain Sebastian Rudy and fellow defender Niklas Suele were playing against their future club after agreeing to switch to Bayern for next season.
Bayern maintained its 13-point lead over Leipzig, which visits Mainz on Wednesday.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND 3, HAMBURGER SV 0
While Lewandowski’s efforts to add to his tally of 24 goals were frustrated in Sinsheim, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rounded off the scoring in Dortmund to take his total to a league-leading 25.
It didn’t look like it would be the Gabon striker’s day, however, after a game of near misses.
“On one hand, we’re happy with the clear win and the performance. But we let too many chances go,” said Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel, whose side faces Monaco in the Champions League next week.
Hamburg ’keeper Rene Adler got the better of Aubameyang in a one-on-one early before Dortmund counterpart Roman Buerki did likewise to Bobby Wood at the other end.
Gonzalo Castro fired the home side ahead with a free kick, before Hamburg regrouped.
Despite being on the back foot, Aubameyang missed another great chance when he struck Adler in the face.
But Aubameyang set up Shinji Kagawa to seal it in the final 10 minutes and then grabbed his own to ensure he scored for the seventh consecutive game in all competitions.
Dortmund stayed fourth in the Champions League playoff place, a point behind Hoffenheim, while Hamburg - which was struggling with injuries - remained just a point above the relegation zone.
WERDER BREMEN 3, SCHALKE 0
Bremen’s remarkable form under new coach Alexander Nouri continued with its sixth win from seven games unbeaten, taking the side - which was previously bottom - to eighth place, six points clear of the relegation zone.
Theodor Gabre Selassie headed the home side in front midway through the first half.
Though Schalke was better in the second, it was left ruing missed chances when captain Benedikt Hoewedes conceded a penalty and Max Kruse duly made it 2-0 from the spot with just under 15 minutes remaining.
Four minutes later, Kruse crossed for Maximilian Eggestein to seal it.
COLOGNE 1, EINTRACHT FRANKFURT 0
With German chancellor Angela Merkel watching from the stands, Milos Jojic’s strike after the break was enough for Cologne to move fifth, level on points with Hertha Berlin, which visits Borussia Moenchengladbach on Wednesday.
Merkel was there to see the home side wearing jerseys highlighting an initiative supported by around 180 companies to promote the integration of refugees into the workplace.