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Hoffenheim thrash Bremen as Hamburg triumph over Schalke

At the start of the 48th Bundesliga season, Hoffenheim thrashed Werder Bremen 4-1 while Hamburg beat Schalke 2-1. Cologne started with a historic red card, losing 3-1 to newcomers Kaiserslautern on a day of comebacks.

Bremen's Aaron Hunt, left, challenges Hoffenheim's Luiz Gustavo

After a sticky start, the game opened up for Hoffenheim

Hoffenheim humbled Werder Bremen at the beginning of a new football season - despite having to come from behind to do so.

After Bremen took the lead in the third minute, through a penalty taken by Thorsten Frings, Hoffenheim really went on to earn their keep and scored an impressive four goals before half-time.

Hoffenheim's players celebrate

Hoffenheim celebrated their second goal, and soon there was more to come

Striker Demba Ba equalized from close range in the 20th minute, before the home side really got into gear.

Six magic minutes

Peniel Mlapa coolly slotted the ball past Germany keeper Tim Wiese in the 37th minute and, on 41 minutes, Bosnian Vedad Ibisevic converted a pass from Brazilian midfielder Luiz Gustavo.

Just two minutes later, Ibisevic's international colleague Sejad Salihovic curled in a free kick to bring the score to 4-1 at half time, with the second half goalless.

"The team was totally unfazed by the penalty and to lead 4-1 at half-time is just fantastic, in the second-half we went off the boil, but the game was won," said Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick.

In other soccer action, Hamburg secured a 2-1 victory over last season's league title runners-up Schalke with Dutchman Ruud van Nistelrooy scoring both goals in the second half.

Schalke's Junmin Hao of China, center, Hamburg's Heiko Westermann, left, and Hamburg's Guy Demel of Ivory Coast, right, challenge for the ball

Schalke had to battle hard after going down to ten men

Schalke went down to ten men when defender Benedikt Hoewedes was shown a second yellow card. New signing Raul was taken off as a result, to plug the whole in the defense.

Red card record

Cologne captain Youssef Mohamad made Bundesliga history by getting the quickest ever red card just 87 seconds into the match against newly promoted Kaiserslautern. Although Cologne went on to take the lead on eight minutes, they were soundly beaten with three goals from Kaiserslautern in the second half.

On a day of comebacks, new boys St Pauli also came from behind to win 3-1 with a flurry of late goals at Freiburg. Papiss Demba Cisse struck for the home team 12 minutes from time, but the visitors levelled through Fabian Boll and clinched victory with goals in the 89th and 90th minutes from substitutes Richard Sukuta-Pasu and Fin Bartels.

Kaiserslautern's Srdjan Lakic celebrates scoring his side's first goal

Srdjan Lakic contributed to the Kaiserslautern comeback

Header sinks Frankfurt

Elsewhere, Ivory Coast international Didier Ya Konan headed in a 75th-minute winner for Hanover, who defeated visitors Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1. Meanwhile, Borussia Moenchengladbach drew 1-1 at home to Nuremberg as Cameroon striker Mohamadou Idrissou equalized for the hosts.

On Friday evening, Bayern Munich made a good start to their defense of the title with a 2-1 win over Wolfsburg.

Author: Nicole Goebel, Richard Connor (AFP/dpa/Reuters)

Editor: Nigel Tandy

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