Hoffenheim rout Hamburg to go top
© AFP

Hoffenheim went back to the top of the Bundesliga on Sunday after their 3-0 victory at home over title-rivals Hamburg thanks to a pair of first-half goals from Hoffenheim's Nigeria striker Chinedu Obasi. Martin Jol-coached Hamburg were humbled and dropped to third as Hoffenheim blitzed the visitors with three goals after 35 minutes to regain the top spot they held briefly at the start of the season.

Hoffenheim squandered a number of late chances to add to the scoreboard as the Hamburg defence collapsed in the closing stages. Obasi opened the scoring on seven minutes after Brazilian midfielder Carlos Eduardo Marques set up the chance and the Nigerian forward drove his shot past diving Hamburg goalkeeper Frank Rost.

Six minutes later, Hoffenheim striker Vedad Ibisevic, the league's top scorer, scored his tenth goal of the season with a simple tap-in after Senegal striker Demba Ba pulled the defence out of position. Midfielder Sejad Salihovic then put Obasi into space to round Rost who tapped the ball into the empty net to make it 3-0 at the break.

Having won two promotions in the last two seasons, Hoffenheim have gone from the regional leagues to the peak of the Bundesliga thanks to the financial backing of software entrepreneur Dietmar Hopp.

"The team played just the way we had planned," Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick said. This team has been together about a year and we have made a few changes, but everyone knows what they have to do. It was a good performance and the league position is pleasing."

Obasi opened the scoring on seven minutes after Brazilian midfielder Carlos Eduardo Marques set up the chance and the Nigerian forward drove his shot past diving Hamburg goalkeeper Frank Rost.

Jol was not happy with the result. "We were not there mentally," he said. "And that is when you get problems. We made mistakes for the first, second and third goals and you can't afford to do that against a side like Hoffenheim."

In other games, VfB Stuttgart are up to fourth in the table thanks to two late goals from Germany striker Mario Gomez, who scored twice in the last ten minutes to seal a 2-0 win at home to VfL Bochum. Dortmund drew 1-1 with Hertha Berlin at home.