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Sports

Hamburg sink further into Bundesliga mire, as Schalke move on up

Hamburg's season has lurched to a new low after a 3-0 loss to Hoffenheim, keeping them firmly in the relegation dogfight. Schalke, meanwhile, moved fourth after beating Wolfsburg and seeing Borussia Mönchengladbach lose.

Other winners on a goal-laden Saturday in the Bundesliga were Bayer Leverkusen, Mainz, Hannover and Augsburg. It was a loss, however, that stole the headlines.

That defeat belonged to Hamburg, who - still a point from safety - can now no longer escape the fact their season has become a rescue mission. Hamburg were made to look second rate by a rampant Hoffenheim team who had sat just two points above them before the opening whistle. The manner in which they capitulated, even more than the result, will be the greatest concern for Hamburg's increasingly under-pressure head coach, Bert van Marwijk.

There were calls for offside in Hoffenheim's opener, with Roberto Firmino treading a fine line when Kevin Volland dinked a little ball through the last line of Hamburg's defense. It mattered little to Firmino, who finished neatly for his ninth goal of the season.

Hamburg's chances of salvaging a result - and indeed, those of saving their season - took a hit when Niklas Süle headed home from a well-worked short corner in the 44th minute. Andreas Beck's second-half tap-in completed a day Hamburg and van Marwijk would wish they could start all over again. Just 131 days into his tenure at the Volksparkstadion, the former Netherlands manager must be starting to question his decision to take on such a task.

Prince reigns for Schalke

In Gelsenkirchen, an 80th-minute goal from the right foot of Kevin-Prince Boateng handed Schalke a 2-1 victory at home. The Ghana international midfielder shattered a 1-1 deadlock they had struggled to break, despite being a goal up when the visiting side had Daniel Caligiuri sent off for dissent on 50 minutes. But Maximilian Arnold's tap-in 15 minutes later cancelled out Felipe Santana's fortunate opener for Schalke - it came off his chin. Victory moved Schalke up to fourth on the table, helped by Borussia Mönchengladbach's shock loss to Hannover in the later game on Saturday.

Leverkusen was another top-six side in action, with Sami Hyypia's second-placed team edging Stuttgart 2-1 at home. The hosts had lost their past three Bundesliga matches, and their poor form looked set to continue on 12 minutes when midfielder Moritz Leitner curled a lovely left-footed shot over Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno after his initial effort was blocked. Leno could do nothing about it, save perhaps to rue the punch that sent the ball outside the area and to Leitner's feet in the first place.

But Stefan Kiessling had the hosts level before the break. Emre Can's piece of skill close to Leverkusen's left touchline resembled a schoolboy showing off in front of his classmates. It had the end product, however, leading to Simon Rolfes' pass finding Kiessling. The beanpole striker still had plenty to do, but Antonio Rüdiger's indecisiveness was a blessing and the Leverkusen man was able to neatly score his 10th goal of the season.

Kevin-Prince Boateng of Schalke (R) his hugged by team-mate Roman Neustaedter after scoring his second goal during the Bundesliga match between FC Schalke 04 and VfL Wolfsburg. Photo: Getty

So often his side's saviour, Kevin-Prince Boateng was at it again for Schalke - this time, against Wolfsburg.

Leverkusen got their winner through the head of substitute Eren Derdiyok from close range on 84 minutes. It was the Swiss' first Bundesliga goal of the season, and his first in the league since November 2012.

Mainz's good Korea moves

Elsewhere, Freiburg won points for entertainment in the first half but little else, with Mainz claiming a 2-0 victory at home. South Korean Joo-Ho Park scored a deflected goal in the first half, and a lovely crafted strike from countryman and record signing Ja-Cheol Koo settled a free-flowing match.

Augsburg capitalized on the dismissal of Werder Bremen defender Santiago Garcia in the shadows of half-time, taking the score from 1-1 to 3-1 by the final whistle.

Gladbach fail to fire

In the later game, Hannover shocked Mönchengladbach through three second-half goals. Discarded by Hamburg after failing to fire in the first half of the season, Artjoms Rudnevs scored his second goal in his second game for Hannover when he headed in from close range after some superb work from winger Szabolcs Huszti on 57 minutes.

Senegalese striker Mame Diouf then added a late brace - either side of Peniel Mlapa's consolation for Mönchengladbach - to hand his side a 3-1 win. Visitors Mönchengladbach had dominated much of the early stages of the game, but failed to make it count and sunk from fourth to fifth on the table as a result.