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Kagawa leads Dortmund ‘fire engine’ back to Bundesliga top spot

Berlin (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund returned to the top of the Bundesliga on Wednesday after easing to a 3-0 victory over Hamburg with Japanese star Shinji Kagawa getting the scoring underway.

Kagawa gave Dortmund the lead from close range on 25 minutes, and both Christian Pulisic and Andriy Yarmolenko had chances to double the advantage before half-time. 

With just over an hour played, Yarmolenko surged forward on the counter attack to set up a goal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. 

The Gabonese striker tapped the ball in from less than a metre in front of goal, scoring his fourth and no doubt easiest goal of the season so far.

“We set off like the fire service on an emergency call at the beginning,” said Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki. 

“It was really important that we got the second goal.”

American international Pulisic secured victory in the 80th minute, netting Dortmund’s third from inside the penalty area.

“It wasn’t an easy game today, because Hamburg put us under pressure,” Dortmund coach Peter Bosz told Sky Sports. “Only a good team can win games like this one, and we deserved to win today.”

Dortmund, who have yet to concede a goal in five games this season, are now a point clear of Bayern Munich, who remain second after surprise package Hanover failed to win in Freiburg.

The promoted side remain unbeaten this season, but were denied the opportunity to leapfrog Bayern by a late Nils Petersen equaliser.

After Florian Niederlechner had missed a penalty for Freiburg early in the second half, Martin Harnik gave Hanover the lead in the 66th minute. Petersen’s close range effort saved a point for the home side with seven minutes to play.  

Hanover now drop to fourth after an injury time goal from Mark Uth saw Hoffenheim beat Mainz 3-2 despite trailing 2-0 early in the game.

Goals from Danny Latza and Yoshinori Muto put Mainz 2-0 up after just 16 minutes, but Hoffenheim rallied quickly. 

Nadiem Amiri pulled a goal back on 23 minutes, before a Sandro Wagner header drew them level on the stroke half-time.

With just seconds left on the clock, Uth picked up a loose ball behind the back line to complete a brilliant comeback for Hoffenheim, who move into third.

At the other end of the table, Cologne are still searching for their first points of the season after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt.

A first half penalty from Sebastien Haller was enough to secure three points for Frankfurt. 

Europa League participants Cologne have now lost all of their first five games, and remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

“We need to shake off the mistakes we made today and start preparing for Sunday’s game,” said Cologne coach Peter Stoeger.

Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen’s early season woes continued with a 2-1 defeat to Hertha Berlin.

Mathew Leckie gave Hertha the lead on 16 minutes, curling the ball brilliantly into the top corner, and Salomon Kalou doubled the lead shortly afterwards. 

An 84th minute strike from Julian Brandt proved too little too late for Leverkusen.

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