Hoffenheim beats Hannover to stake Champions League claim
SINSHEIM, Germany (AP) — Andrej Kramaric scored a hat trick for Hoffenheim to stake its claim for a Champions League spot with a 3-1 win over Hannover in the Bundesliga on Friday.
A mistake from Salif Sane, who is joining Schalke next season, gifted Hoffenheim the first when Serge Gnabry ran onto his botched back pass to give Kramaric a tap in. Gnabry had to go off with a thigh injury afterward.
Kenan Karaman pulled one back, but Kramaric restored the home side’s lead when he smashed in a volley from a corner, and the Croatian forward sealed the win late when he took Nico Schulz’ cross on his chest before chipping over the Hannover ’keeper.
Hoffenheim’s third win in a row lifted the side into fourth and the last qualification place for the Champions League, though Bayer Leverkusen could retake the position with a win at home over Stuttgart on Saturday.
Two rounds remain after the weekend’s games.