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Hertha Berlin down Hoffenheim 1-0

HERTHA Berlin jumped into provisional second place in the Bundesliga with a 1-0 victory over slumping Hoffenheim yesterday.

The win gave Berlin 55 points, two behind leader Wolfsburg. Bayern Munich and Hamburg were one point behind Hertha but can both leapfrog Berlin today.

"This victory really gives us a lot of energy for the rest of the season," Berlin manager Dieter Hoeness said. "We were under a lot of pressure, especially in the second half. But we barely won the game and that's what's most important."

Hoeness said next week's showdown at Hamburg will be a critical match, adding: "If we can beat Hamburg then anything is possible."

Patrick Ebert scored in the 40th minute for Berlin to collect its second straight victory after three losses.

Hoffenheim's winless streak stretched to 11 games as the leader after the first half remained on 45 points, in eighth place and six points from a spot in international play next season.

"I can't believer this. We can try whatever we want but we can't win any games," Hoffenheim captain Selim Teber said. "We dominated them but they shoot one time on goal and score and win the game."

Hoffenheim playmaker Sejad Salihovic was also at a loss for answers.

"I have no idea," he said. "We really just need a victory and then it will turn around."

Hoffenheim had more control in the first half but it was Berlin which took the lead five minutes before the break. Marko Pantelic passed to Ebert on the right side and the midfielder beat Hoffenheim goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand to the near post.

The host pushed forward looking for the equalizer and nearly got it but Salihovic headed into Berlin keeper Jaroslav Drobny's arms in the 63rd and Chinedu Obasi struck just left six minutes later.

But the top Hoffenheim chance came with 13 minutes to play when substitute striker Boubacar Sanogo headed off the left post.


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