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Eintracht beat Hoffenheim to stay in chasing pack

AFP
ANALYST
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746   //    26 Jan 2013, 23:07 IST

BERLIN (AFP) –

L-R: Frankfurt's Olivier Occean and Karim Matmour vie with Hoffenheim's Andreas Beck and Matthieu Delpierre

L-R: Frankfurt’s forward Olivier Occean and midfielder Karim Matmour fight for the ball with Hoffenheim’s defenders Andreas Beck and Matthieu Delpierre during a German first division Bundesliga football match in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, on January 26, 2013. Eintracht Frankfurt stayed in the chasing pack with a 2-1 home win over Hoffenheim.

With Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich at VfB Stuttgart on Sunday, fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt stayed in the chasing pack with a 2-1 home win over Hoffenheim on Saturday.

A deft chip from Japan winger Takashi Inui on 35 minutes allowed Frankfurt midfielder Martin Lanig to ghost in behind the centre-backs and beat Hoffenheim’s Germany goalkeeper Tim Wiese for the first goal.

Hoffenheim, whose centre-back Marvin Compper quit the club for Fiorentina on Friday after being accused of having a motivation problem, equalised through teenage striker Kevin Volland on 65 minutes.

Eintracht regained the lead just two minutes later through right-winger Stefan Aigner, but despite the three points, Frankfurt, who were promoted at the end of last season, remain 12 points behind Bayern.

The defeat drops Hoffenheim into the automatic relegation places, in second bottom spot.

“I’m just happy we won, the whole team fought hard against a team who are better than their league place,” said Eintracht coach Armin Veh.

“I am happy we built on our advantage after taking an early lead.”

With speculation rife over whether Germany midfielder Lewis Holtby will join Tottenham Hotspur before January’s transfer window closes, his Schalke 04 side were held to a goalless draw at relegation-candidates Augsburg.

Holtby, whose contract ends in June, will join Spurs for next season and, although the North London club want to sign him sooner, Schalke have rejected all their offers for the 22-year-old so far.

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Schalke have won just once in eight games and drop to sixth, while the hosts moved up to 16th.

“You can’t be happy, but after the way the game played out, you can live with it,” said Schalke coach Jens Keller, who added he sympathised with under-performing Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

“Augsburg were very aggressive, we didn’t get into the game and didn’t win those balls which would have put our striker in a good position.”

Schalke's striker Jefferson Farfan (L) and Augsburg's midfielder Andre Hahn fight for the ball on January 26, 2013

Schalke’s striker Jefferson Farfan (L) and Augsburg’s midfielder Andre Hahn fight for the ball during their German first division Bundesliga football match in Augsburg, southern Germany, on January 26, 2013. The match ended 0-0.

Mainz moved up to fifth with a workmanlike 3-0 win at bottom side Greuther Fuerth.

Their former Real Madrid striker Adam Szalai finally got his toe to the ball after a goal-mouth scramble on 53 minutes.

With team-mates queuing up to score, 19-year-old Yunus Malli rifled his shot home on 65 minutes to extend their lead before Szalai grabbed his second on 83 minutes to take the three points.

Borussia Moenchengladbach enjoyed a 2-1 win at home to Fortuna Duesseldorf to claim seventh place.

Despite having defender Sebastien Pocognoli sent off for a dangerous foul just 34 minutes into his Bundesliga debut after joining from Standard Liege last week, 10-man Hanover 96 claimed a 2-1 victory over Wolfsburg.

Former Manchester United striker Mame Diouf scored Hanover’s second goal midway through the first-half.

There was bad news for Hanover after the game as it was confirmed Swiss centre-back Mario Eggimann faces a long lay off after breaking his ankle in the first half.

On Friday, defending Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund romped to a 3-0 win at home to Nuremberg to provisionally go second, but Bayer Leverkusen can leapfrog them if they take a point at Freiburg on Saturday night.

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