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Hoffenheim draw keeps Hanover top of Bundesliga


Berlin (AFP) – Hanover 96 remain top of the Bundesliga after Hoffenheim were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Hertha Berlin on Sunday after Sandro Wagner’s early header was cancelled out.

In the first ever Bundesliga match to kick off at 1:30pm local time (1130 GMT), Germany striker Wagner powered home a header after just six minutes to give Hoffenheim the lead in Sinsheim.

However, Hertha striker Alexander Esswein equalised when he dived at Marvin Plattenhardt’s cross on 55 minutes and the ball flew into the net off his shoulder.

Having got themselves level, Pal Dardai’s Hertha defended deep, packed players around the ball and frustrated Hoffenheim to earn a point away from home as neither side managed to create many more clear chances.

The result leaves Hoffenheim fourth in the table with Hertha down to 11th and keeps Hanover, who won promotion back to the Bundesliga last season, as unlikely league leaders. 

Hanover went top of the table on Friday for the first time in 48 years with a 2-0 win at Hamburg thanks to goals by Martin Harnik and Togo winger Ihlas Bebou.

However, Borussia Dortmund can knock Hanover from top spot on Sunday afternoon when they host bottom side Cologne, who have lost all three Bundesliga games so far and lost 3-1 at Arsenal on Thursday in the Europa League.

Defending champions Bayern Munich are second, one point behind Hanover, after their 4-0 hammering of Mainz on Saturday when Robert Lewandowski netted twice while Arjen Robben and Thomas Mueller also got on the scoresheet.

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