Life at the bottom of the Bundesliga remains miserable for Borussia Dortmund, beaten again at home, this time by Hannover 96, 1-0 on a day when the rest of strugglers also found victories hard to come by.
VfB Stuttgart did manage a wild 5-4 win at Eintracht Frankfurt, but there were defeats for Hamburger SV, 3-0 at Hertha Berlin, and SC Freiburg, also 2-0 at FC Augsburg so the lower ranks remained largely unchanged.
Earlier Saturday, last-place Werder Bremen, winless in nine matches and beaten at home Friday night by Cologne, dropped the axe on manager Robin Dutt. Under-23 coach Viktor Skripnik will be in charge when Bremen goes to Chemnizter for a DFB Cup match Tuesday night. The dismissal was confirmed by Bremen sporting director Thomas Eichin after Dutt had conducted a Saturday practice session.
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There was joy for TSG Hoffenheim, however, which edged SC Paderborn on a 73rd minute goal from Kevin Volland lifting them to second place in the table, at least until Sunday’s games when they can be overtaken in that lofty perch.
Hoffenheim had missed a fifth minute chance to take charge early when Lukas Kruse dove to his right-hand post to save a Sebastian Rudy penalty after Daniel Brueckner had fouled Volland to give the home team the award. But Volland enabled them to collect full points when was set up by Andreas Beck to score from in close.
Dortmund’s best chance in the opening half fell to Mats Hummels, but his powerful header was well-saved by Ron-Robert Zeiler in the 18th minute, and that proved costly when Hiroshi Kiyotaki beat Roman Wiedenfeller with a 61st minute free kick that got over the wall, then dipped sharply to the left corner.
Marco Reus had seen his shot slide just past the far post six minutes earlier, symbolic of the frustration which has overtaken BvB in league play. The overpowering UEFA Champions League form simply wasn’t there again as they failed to win for the sixth straight league match and remain just one point above the bottom three after nine Bundesliga matches.
The match of the day was in Frankfurt where Armin Veh returned to collect a win over his former club in that nine-goal thriller. Eintracht broke on top in the 21st minute when a corner on the left was headed on to the far post where Haris Seferovic nodded against the bar. The rebound fell nicely for Alexander Madlung to cash in. Stuttgart then fashioned two goals in three minutes with Martin Harnik the finisher on each occasion.
His 34th minute goal came with the help of a deflection after Oriel Romeu did all the approach work, then Harnik was alone to finish a cross from SercanSarerer that Alexander Maxim helped on in the box.
Christian Gentner collected a neat one-touch pass from Maxim in the 51st minute to give VfB a 3-1 cushion, but that was merely the signal for the goals to flow. Alexander Meier, Stefan Aigner and Madlung, getting his second, scored three in eight minutes to put Eintracht back on top 4-3 with 25 minutes to play.
But VfB Stuttgart had the final salvo. Timo Werner broke in on the left to score a fine, individualistic goal in the 82nd minute, then Gentner won it with his second strike of the day, on the spot to collect when keeper Felix Wiedwald could only palm a previous shot directly into his path.
Augsburg got on top with an 11th minute penalty from Paul Verhaegh after Pavel Krmas bundled down Ragnar Klavan in the, then added a 66th minute clincher from Halil Altintop; Hertha used a pair of goals from Aris Ben Hatira and one from veteran Dutch defender John Heitinga to easily stymie Hamburger SV.
At night, a curling free kick from Hakan Calhanoglu was all that Bayer Leverkusen needed to get past Schalke, 1-0 and move into fourth place in the table. With both teams coming off difficult Champions League assignments in midweek there were signs of fatigue with the home side having the better of the few real scoring chances.
Stefan Kiessling just failed to reach a Son Heung-min pass late in the first half when he was in on top of Ralf Faerhmann and the Schalke keeper had to be good deny Calhangolu early in the second before the decisive goal came. Calhangolu lined up on the top left side of the box, then whipped his free into the top left corner as Faerhmann was left clutching air.
The win snapped a string of three consecutive league draws for Leverkusen and also handed new Schalke manager Roberto Di Matteo his first lost since taking charge.