Tue, Feb 03, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Augsburg eyeing Europe after beating Hoffenheim

Reuters, BERLIN

Hoffenheim’s Ermin Bicakcic, top, vies with Augsburg’s Ji Dong-won during their Bundesliga match at the SGL Arena in Augsburg, Germany, on Sunday.

Photo: EPA

Surprise package Augsburg beat TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 3-1 on Sunday to move into contention for a European spot next season, rising to fifth in the Bundesliga.

The Bavarians, more used to spending the season battling relegation than dreaming of a Champions League spot, picked up where they left off before the winter break to join third placed Borussia Moenchengladbach on 30 points.

The hosts scored twice late in the first half through Halil Altintop and Tobias Werner in a game played in heavy snowfall.

However, Roberto Firmino pulled one back on the stroke of half-time to keep things finely balanced.

Augsburg, who should have scored more goals in the second half, needed the skills of goalkeeper Alex Manninger, who denied David Abraham a last-minute equalizer with a superb save, and Raul Bobadilla’s stoppage-time goal to confirm their 10th league win.

In Sunday’s other game, Argentine Franco di Santo scored two sublime goals to lead Werder Bremen to a 2-0 home victory over Hertha BSC, lifting them further away from the relegation zone.

The 25-year-old forward struck just before the break, after Bremen dominated, but had failed to convert several good chances, curling a shot from a tight angle past goalkeeper Thomas Kraft.

He then killed off Hertha’s growing momentum in the second half with a sensational volley in full flight in the 69th minute for his eighth goal of the campaign, as Bremen moved up to 12th on 20 points, three above the drop zone.

Lackluster Hertha dropped to 15th on 18 points.

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