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Bundesliga: Hamburg inflict more woe on Hoffenheim

Hoffenheim capitulated 2-0 away to Hamburg in Friday night's Bundesliga match, leaving them with the fifth defeat in a row. It is the first defeat under their debutante coach Frank Kramer.

If ever there was a team yearning for the winter break, it was probably Hoffenheim, who came into Friday's game in Hamburg on the back of four defeats, and statistically the worst defense in the Bundesliga, by a margin of 10 goals - which was to stretch to 12 before the evening was out.

But at least they have a new coach. Frank Kramer made his league debut after the sacking of the hapless Markus Babbel earlier in the week. "It's not about me, it's about the club," Kramer, previously guided the club's under-23 side in Germany's regional league, said ahead of the game.

The guests got a decent start in what became a listless first half from both sides, but HSV slowly took control of the game and produced the opening goal in the 27th minute when Hoffenheim offered no resistance - either to Dennis Diekmeier's cross from the right, or to the header from Artjoms Rudnevs loitering near the penalty spot.

Fußball Bundesliga 16. Hamburger SV - 1899 Hoffenheim +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

Hoffenheim stretched their losing streak to five

The Latvian found himself in enough space to send a moderately-paced header into the center of the goal, which would have been saved, if goalkeeper Koen Casteels hadn't been caught off his line.

Lackluster

The second half was similarly lackluster - HSV were able to pass the ball round at will, while Hoffenheim could barely muster a long range effort when they did get the ball. Neither side was able to create a chance of note for nearly half an hour, when in the 74th minute Hoffenheim failed to clear a free-kick from Dennis Aogo.

The ball bounced out invitingly to Rudnevs, who was able to hammer the ball high into the right of the goal. It was more or less the only shot on target in the second half up until then.

The result left Hoffenheim in 16th place, four points from safety - with everyone else having a game in hand this weekend. Their next opponents are the current Bundesliga champions Dortmund.

Hamburg, meanwhile, were at least temporarily lifted to sixth. Though that could easily change over the weekend, when Mainz - just a point behind - travel to Mönchengladbach.

League leaders Bayern Munich look well-placed to continue their imperious run on Saturday, when they will take on lowly Augsburg in a Bavarian derby. Their biggest rivals and current champions Dortmund face an erratic Wolfsburg side at home, while second placed Leverkusen have an underperforming Hannover team to look forward to on Sunday.

One of the more interesting fixtures on Saturday will be Stuttgart's clash with an out-of-form Schalke, who have now gone four games without a win, despite being in fourth place. A win for Stuttgart will put them level on points with Schalke - establishing the Swabian side at the right end of the table.

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