Tue, Dec 16, 2008 - Page 18 News List

BUNDES LIGA: Hoffenheim finish the year at the top of the Bundesliga

AFP , BERLIN

Hoffenheim’s Demba Ba, left, challenges for the ball with Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, center, as Schalke’s Benedikt Hoewedes looks on during their German Bundesliga match in Mannheim, Germany, on Sunday.

PHOTO: AP

Hoffenheim finish the year as league leaders after coming from behind to seal a 1-1 draw with nine-man Schalke 04 on Sunday as the village team from southwest Germany continue the Bundesliga fairytale.

A superb second-half direct free-kick from midfielder Selim Teber canceled out a first-half strike from Schalke’s Gerald Asamoah to put Hoffenheim back on top in their first season in Germany’s top flight.

But tempers boiled over as Schalke had both midfielder Jermaine Jones and Orlando Engelaar sent off in the second half.

The single point was enough for Hoffenheim to take over from Bayern Munich as league leaders and having only been promoted last year, the home side enter the winter break as leaders.

The match was a bad tempered affair and Germany midfielder Jones picked up an early yellow card after just 23 minutes when he body checked Nigeria striker Chinedu Obasi.

Hoffenheim’s defense then had only themselves to blame when Schalke striker Halil Altintop slid a pass through to Asamoah and the former Germany forward smashed his shot past goalkeeper Daniel Haas on 40 minutes.

The home side squandered a string of chances to equalize, but the game degenerated after the break with a flurry of yellow cards.

Trouble started in earnest when Schalke’s Brazilian midfielder Rafinha bundled Hoffenheim’s Sejad Salihovic over the sidelines and picked up a yellow card on 52 minutes.

Just four minutes later, both Asamoah and midfielder Selim Teber both picked up yellows after a tussle which sucked in the majority of both sides.

Jones then allowed his suspect temper to get the better of him when he hacked down Hoffenheim substitute Luiz Gustavo Dias on 59 minutes and was shown his second yellow card and the automatic red.

Jones was so incensed he had to be restrained by Schalke coaches as he remonstrated with the Hoffenheim bench on his way to the dressing room and left his side a man down with 30 minutes left.

Hoffenheim then got the deserved equalizer when Teber curled in a superb free-kick on 71 minutes.

Schalke lost another man when Engelaar was shown his second yellow on 80 minutes for yet another heavy challenge.

German Bundesliga

 
Team
P
GD
PTS
1
TSG Hoffenheim
17
19
35
2
Bayern Munich
17
15
35
3
Hertha Berlin
17
7
33
4
Hamburg
17
2
33
5
Bayer Leverkusen
17
15
32
6
Borussia Dortmund
17
8
29
7
Schalke 04
17
8
27
8
Werder Bremen
17
11
26
9
Wolfsburg
17
10
26
10
VfB Stuttgart
17
3
25
11
Cologne
17
-6
22
12
Eintracht Frankfurt
17
-6
19
13
Hannover 96
17
-12
17
14
Arminia Bielefeld
17
-12
14
15
Karlsruhe
17
-17
13
16
Cottbus
17
-17
13
17
VfL Bochum
17
-11
11
18
Borussia M’gladbach
17
-17
11

 

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