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Sports

Hertha beat Hoffenheim, Ingolstadt come back

Ingolstadt won the battle of newly promoted teams against Darmstadt. Earlier, pleasant surprises Hertha Berlin beat underachievers Hoffenheim to return to fourth spot, but the star of the show was a sudden blizzard.

The minute of silence for the victims of the November 13 was still underway when the sky over the German capital opened up, and the snow began to fall. Within minutes large sections of the pitch were covered in the white stuff, and the goal lines and penalty areas were impossible to make out.

With the footing treacherous, long speculative passes and dead-ball situations were the order of the day. And it was through the latter that Hertha grabbed the lead on the half-hour mark. Eugen Polanski headed on a Marvin Plattenhardt free kick, and as the goal-line technology clearly showed, Oliver Baumann was unable to palm the ball away the goal in time.

The scene was convincing argument for giving referees technological help, as the linesman initially seemed to wave off the goal in poor visibility. Berlin were, in any case, good for their halftime lead, as keeper Rune Jarstein remained completely untested.

Helpers in the stadium were able to clear the snow from the two penalty areas at least after the restart. Hoffenheim tried to take advantage of the improved playing conditions, whereas at the hour mark, Hertha had but the one shot on goal to their name.

Kevin Volland could have equalized a quarter of an hour from time, but his left foot was ice called and he skied a ball well over goal from eight meters out. Eduardo Vargas came a lot closer with a header some six minutes later. And John Anthony Brooks missed equalizing for the visitors by a whisker in a near own goal in injury time. Thus one shot on goal was all Hertha needed to book a 1-0 win - a new negative record for a Bundesliga side.

"We switched gears quickly in the first half to take advantage of the weather conditions," Hertha coach Pal Dardai. "All you can do is hit long balls and keep fighting."

Hertha reclaim fourth place in the table, while Hoffenheim are dead last and have yet to record a victory under their new coach Huub Stevens.

Fußball 2. Bundesliga 19. Spieltag SV Darmstadt 98 - FC Ingolstadt 04

Ultimately it was the men in red and black with their noses ahead

Ingolstadt turn tide against Darmstadt

Sunday's late match was the first Bundesliga fixture between newly-promoted teams Ingolstadt and Darmstadt. After a 15-minute delay before the opening whistle, Darmstadt grabbed the lead in a familiar fashion.

Darmstadt have been brutally efficient on set pieces, and on nine minutes, Aytac Sulu headed in a Konstantin Rausch free kick. It was the Lillies captain's third goal of the season - his third goal of the season.

It took almost an hour for hosts Ingolstadt to make their home advantage pay, but they came back within the space on two minutes. Robert Bauer lashed in an equalizer from outside the box in minute 58, and on the hour mark Moritz Hartmann converted a penalty after Junior Diaz felled Pascal Gross in the box.

Hartmann salted away the 3-1 victory two minutes from time with his second goal of the afternoon. The three points take Ingolstadt up to eighth in the table while Darmstadt languish in sixteenth.

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