Hoffenheim Stuns Soccer World With Hamburg Win | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 27.10.2008
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Hoffenheim Stuns Soccer World With Hamburg Win

1899 Hoffenheim trampled Bundesliga leaders SV Hamburg on Sunday, taking over the top spot. Could they be heading for the title? Team members say they're just enjoying the ride.

Hoffenheim's Chinedu Obasi, left, and Sejad Salihovic celebrate

Hoffenheim has had plenty to celebrate this season

Hoffenheim have shown that they are no fluke. On Sunday, the newcomers from a small town in southern Germany crushed Hamburg 3-0.

The team destroyed Hamburg with fast counter attacks that has become their trademark in their debut season in the Bundesliga. If they can keep up the pace, Hoffenheim have the chance of being serious title contenders.

"Let's wait and see where it all ends. We are having fun and are hungry," defender Andreas Beck said after the Hamburg game.

Hoffenheim's coach also said he didn't want his team to be distracted by its recent success.

Hoffenheim's Chinedu Obasi, left, scores the third goal for his team against Hamburg

Hamburg simply could not keep up

"Should I be dancing on the tables?" coach Ralf Rangnick asked reporters after the Sunday win. "The danger right now is that we start making mistakes."

German soccer fans have been awed by the club's rise. The team plays arguably the most fun football in the country with a bunch of players who were virtually unknown before the season began.

An online poll of the mass circulation paper Bild said on Monday that 61 percent of some 16,000 voters believed that Rangnick's team was good enough for the title.

Impressive start

Hoffenheim's Vedad Ibisevic is the Bundesliga top scorer with 10 goals. Demba Ba or Chinedu Obasi have also been big scorers for the team.

Rangnick's successful formula of attacking football is helped by the fact, in his opinion, that "the players have been together for more than a year and know each other."

Hoffenheim have put in the best performance of a promoted team at this stage of the season since Bayern Munich joined the league in 1965-66, featuring young players named Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Mueller.

Munich staged for a comeback

Hoffenheim's headcoach Ralf Rangnick

Rangnick said he wants his players to stay focused

Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge expressed his "respect" for Hoffenheim's showings but is even more pleased that his team appears to have overcome a slump of three winless games with back-to-back victories.

Munich have climbed into fourth place with 15 points, four behind Hoffenheim, as they travel to Eintracht Frankfurt, who are upbeat as well after two wins, their first of the season.

But Munich general manager Uli Hoeness is convinced "that we will be in the top three" if Munich win in Frankfurt and on Saturday against Bielefeld.

Elsewhere, second-placed Bayer Leverkusen (18 points) visit mid-table Werder Bremen on Tuesday. The day's other games are VfL Wolfsburg vs Borussia Moenchengladbach, SC Karlsruhe vs Schalke 04 and Bielefeld vs bottom club Energie Cottbus.

In other action Wednesday, Hertha Berlin meet Hanover 96, Cologne play Dortmund and the former leaders Hamburg (third on 17 points) must reverse the latest negative trend when they host Stuttgart.

"We will learn from this defeat," vowed Hamburg coach Martin Jol after the debacle in Hoffenheim.

Next comes an away match at VfL Bochum on Wednesday, which, given the team's form, could be another high-scoring affair.

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