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Unstoppable Hoffenheim, rising Bayern
by Ian Plenderleith, October 30th, 2008 7AM
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[GERMANY] Hoffenheim won 3-1 at Bochum to regain the Bundesliga lead it had lost to Leverkusen for 24 hours. Bayern Munich won its third straight with a 2-1 road victory at Eintracht Frankfurt, while Hamburg topped Stuttgart thanks to a dubious penalty and a deflected goal.

Hoffenheim fell behind in the game's second minute when Bochum's Dennis Grote exploited a poorly cleared corner to fire in, and the home side held its lead for over an hour. Then three goals in seven minutes saw Hoffenheim take the points and move back to the top of the standings. Senegalese striker Demba Ba scored his sixth goal of the season, former St. Louis resident Vedad Ibisevic scored his 11th, from the penalty spot, and 21-year-old Brazilian midfielder Carlos Eduardo scored his second of the campaign to seal the win.

"The first 20 minutes we weren't really in it," said Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick, "but we slowly came into the game by moving the ball forward quickly, and then in the second half really turned it around. My team deserves a compliment."

Bayern Munich also came from behind at Frankfurt after defender Martin Demichelis botched a clearance and scored an own goal after 55 minutes to add to the one he scored in the Champions League last month. Bayern had dominated the intense game up to that point, but Frankfurt was so encouraged by the goal that it started to attack and left more space for Bayern to attack on the counter. First of all, Franck Ribery and Sebastian Schweinsteiger combined to set up Miroslav Klose for the equalizer on 65 minutes, then Klose returned the favor with an assist to Ribery to hit the winner with a clinical volley on the turn five minutes later.

"We missed two or three chances in the first half, but then we clearly controlled the game," said Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann. "The own goal made things a bit precarious, but it didn't bother me because this team is stable and in shape." Frankfurt's Friedhelm Funkel labeled the defeat "bitter" and lamented that his team had nothing to show for all its effort.

Hamburg topped Stuttgart (or "Stootgart," as the GolTV commentators insist on calling the team) with the help of a dubious penalty award on 17 minutes when Thomas Hitzlsperger was adjudged to have brought down David Jarolim. Replays showed that not only had Jarolim controlled the ball with his hand seconds earlier, but that contact between the two players was minimal, perhaps non-existent. Piotr Trochowski converted, despite the characteristic attempts of Stuttgart goalkeeper Jen Lehmann to psyche him out. Dutch defender Joris Mathijsen clinched the game with a volley 15 minutes from time that took a deflection off his compatriot Khalid Bouhlarouz.

"Maybe it was a labored victory, but Stuttgart is an excellent team," said Hamburg coach Martin Jol, happy with his team's attitude after the 3-0 weekend defeat at Hoffenheim. His Stuttgart counterpart, Armin Veh, did not complain about the penalty, merely calling it "unnecessary. When you go behind after a quarter of an hour, then of course it's difficult. But the standings don't lie." Stuttgart is ninth.

After a goalless and mediocre first half, Hertha Berlin finished off Hannover and Steve Cherundolo in the second with goals from Marco Pantelic, Andrey Voronin and Valeri Domovchiyski. Hertha moves up to fifth, Hannover is stuck in 14th, just above the relegation zone. Dortmund climbed to seventh after a 1-0 win at Cologne, Florian Kringe scoring his second gamewinner of the season.

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