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Braunschweig breathe life, down ten-man Hanover 3-0 Hoffenheim hold Hertha Berlin

BERLIN, April 6, (AFP): Bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig breathed life into their Bundesliga survival hopes as Sunday’s 3-0 romp at home to ten-man Hanover 96 means four points separate the last six sides. Congolese-born captain Domi Kumbela gave Braunschweig the lead in the Lower Saxony derby before Norway striker Havard Nielsen made it 2-0 with a superb volley on 21 minutes. Hanover were reduced to ten men when midfielder Andre Hoffmann was sent off on 62 minutes for a dangerous foul before Jan Hochscheidt scored the hosts’ third just before the final whistle. “That was an important three points and for our fans it’s also an important emotional win,” said Braunschweig’s relieved coach Torsten Lieberknecht whose side face champions Bayern Munich in a fortnight.

The result leaves Braunschweig unbeaten in their last three games and just two points from safety, while Hanover are two points from the relegation mire after four straight defeats. Later, mid-table Hoffenheim held Hertha Berlin to a 1-1 draw in the capital as Sami Allagui’s early goal was cancelled out by Poland international’s Eugen Polanski equaliser with half an hour gone. Hoffenheim’s Germany hopeful Kevin Volland was only denied the winning goal on the final whistle when his free-kick was palmed over the bar by Hertha goalkeeper Thomas Kraft.

On Saturday, champions Bayern Munich suffered their first league defeat since October 2012 as their record 53-match unbeaten run was ended by a 1-0 defeat at Augsburg. Coach Pep Guardiola paid the price for naming a weakened team for the Bavarian derby with one eye on Wednesday’s Champions League return leg at home to Manchester United. The Spaniard made seven changes from the side which drew 1-1 at Manchester United last Tuesday in the quarter-final first leg. Guardiola started with three teenagers in Augsburg, giving Bundesliga debuts to reserve team wing-backs Ylli Sallahi and Mitchell Weiser while Pierre-Emile Hoejbjerg was named on the left wing. The gamble backfired when Weiser lost possession to Augsburg’s Daniel Baier who fed Sascha Moelders and the striker blasted his shot past Bayern’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer with 31 minutes gone to claim the winning goal.

Standings
    P    W    D    L    GF    GA    Pts
Bayern    29    25    3    1    82    17    78
Dortmund    29    18    4    7    64    32    58
Schalke 04    29    16    7    6    54    38    55
Gladbach    29    14    6    9    51    34    48
Leverkusen    29    15    3    11    48    36    48
Wolfsburg    29    14    5    10    49    44    47
Mainz 05    29    13    5    11    41    45    44
Augsburg    29    12    6    11    41    43    42
Hoffenheim    29    9    10    10    64    63    37
Hertha Berlin    29    10    7    12    37    40    37
Frankfurt    29    9    8    12    37    48    35
Werder Bremen    29    8    9    12    34    55    33
Hanover 96    29    8    5    16    36    54    29
Freiburg    29    7    8    14    33    52    29
Stuttgart    29    7    6    16    44    57    27
Hamburg    29    7    6    16    45    60    27
Nuremberg    29    5    11    13    34    54    26
Braunschweig    29    6    7    16    28    50    25
 

Note: Top three qualify directly for the Champions League, fourth goes into the play-offs, while fourth and fifth play in the Europa League. The bottom two sides are relegated and the team finishing 16th has a two-legged play-off against the side which finishes third in the second division.
Note: Standings read as played, won draw, lost, goals for, goals against & points.

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