Football: Bayern Crash Again As Hoffenheim Regain Lead
Posted February 22, 2009on:
BERLIN : Hoffenheim returned to the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday with a 3-3 draw at Stuttgart while defending champions Bayern Munich slumped 2-1 at home to Cologne – their third defeat in four league games.
Hertha lost top spot when they were beaten 2-1 at Wolfsburg – who remain unbeaten at home this season – as a goal from Brazilian Cicero was cancelled out by second-half strikes from Wolfsburg’s Edin Dzeko to put Berlin second.
“We are, of course, very disappointed, because we could have taken at least a point,” said Hertha coach Lucien Favre.
“In the second-half, we were actually the better team and we made Wolfsburg look strong, so it’s hard to accept this defeat.”
Hoffenheim went back to the top after a battle royal at Stuttgart as Senegal striker Demba Ba hit a hat-trick which was cancelled out by strikes from Cacau and a pair by Germany forward Mario Gomez as it finished 3-3.
Hoffenheim midfielder Sejad Salihovic missed a penalty in injury time to leave his side on 40 points with Hertha, but top by virtue of goal difference.
“The spectators certainly got their money’s worth today,” said Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick.
“It was an intense game which would we could have won, albeit unexpectedly.
“Mario Gomez was impressive today, so we can live with 3-3.”
The biggest shock of the day came when mid-table Cologne went to Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena and enjoyed a 2-1 win over the hosts.
“Something went wrong today,” said Bayern coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
“The 1-0 rocked us and we were too hectic in our organisation.
“We stood back in the personal battles and had no fire in the belly.
“This defeat riles – once again we have missed the chance to go to the top of the table.”
Hamburg, Hertha Berlin and now Cologne have all beaten the defending champions since the season resumed at the beginning of the month.
Cologne dominated the first-half after Bayern’s Miroslav Klose looked to have headed his side ahead on 13 minutes, but the goal was ruled offside.
From then on it was virtually all Cologne as French midfielder Fabrice Ehret slipped his marker Martin Demichelis and fired his shot past Bayern goalkeeper Michael Rensing on 22 minutes.
The Bayern shot-stopper had said the week before that he was “sick to the back teeth of his defence” who “got on his nerves” and they did nothing to improve his opinion when they leaked a second goal.
Germany defender Philipp Lahm allowed Serbia midfielder Nemanja Vucicevic to fire in a cross from close range and teenage midfielder Daniel Brosinski capped his debut with a goal on 34 minutes despite being surrounded by defenders.
Klose immediately responded with a fierce shot which went just wide of the near post, but it remained 2-0 at the break and after a dire second-half Belgian defender Daniel van Buyten scored a consolation on 84 minutes.
Bayern remain fourth in the league, but could drop to fifth on Sunday if Bayer Leverkusen beat third-placed Hamburg, who could go top if they win.
Despite holding AC Milan to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday in the UEFA Cup, Werder Bremen were beaten 2-1 at strugglers Energie Cottbus who won the race to get their pitch clear of snow after an appeal to fans.
Strugglers Bochum picked up a 1-0 win at fellow relegation contenders Arminia Bielefeld, while mid-table Eintracht Frankfurt enjoyed a 1-0 win at second-from-bottom Karlsruhe to stop their freefall in the league.
Bottom club Borussia Moenchengladbach closed the gap between the rest of the league to two points when they enjoyed a 3-2 win at home over Hanover with rising stars Marko Marin and Alexander Baumjohann both scoring.
Germany veteran Oliver Neuville scored the winner with time running out.
On Friday night, goals by Schalke 04 striker Kevin Kuranyi and Dortmund’s Mohamed Zidan either side of half-time meant the Ruhr valley derby ended in a 1-1 draw on Friday which left both sides in mid-table.
– AFP /ls
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