Wichniarek denies Hertha top spot
© AFP

Poland striker Artur Wichniarek levelled for Arminia Bielefeld as Hertha Berlin's hopes of taking over at the top of the German league were thwarted by a 1-1 draw on Friday. Former Liverpool striker Andrei Voronin had fired Hertha into an early lead and three points would have put them top instead of Hoffenheim.

But Wichniarek struck just before half-time with his 12th goal of the season. After shocking Werder Bremen 2-1 last Sunday, Bielefeld are now up to 14th in the table having picked up another precious point, while Hertha are second with Hoffenheim in action on Saturday against bottom club Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Before kick-off, Berlin lost captain Arne Friedrich with a back injury which will also keep him out of next Wednesday's Germany friendly against Norway in Duesseldorf. Hertha took the lead after just 13 minutes when Voronin latched onto a free-kick from goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny and drilled his shot into the top corner with pin-point accuracy.

The Ukrainian forward hit the crossbar a few minutes later. But Bielefeld showed plenty of fighting spirit when Wichniarek, who hit the winner against Bremen, levelled five minutes before the interval, heading home a cross from Czech Republic defender Radim Kucera.

Bielefeld had by far the better of the second-half as Brazilian Raffael went close on several occasions.