Lucky Goal Keeps Hertha Tops in Bundesliga | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 15.03.2009
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Lucky Goal Keeps Hertha Tops in Bundesliga

Andrey Voronin was the familiar hero as Hertha Berlin defeated Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 on to maintain a four-point Bundesliga lead. Bayern Munich also won while Hoffenheim stumbled to a draw.

Voronin celebrates a goal

Voronin's celebrations have become a common sight at Berlin

Hertha top the table with 49 points, with Bayern Munich and VfL Wolfsburg following on 45 points each. TSG Hoffenheim have 43 and SV Hamburg take 42 into their Sunday game with lowly Energie Cottbus.

Munich won 3-0 at 10-man VfL Bochum while Grafite scored a hat-trick on Friday in Wolfsburg's 4-3 victory over Schalke 04. Hoffenheim were held 1-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Hertha and Leverkusen showed huge respect for each other in a game where scoring chances were sparse. Berlin's Voronin scored the winner early in the second half, with plenty of luck on his side as the ball went into the net off his chest after goalkeeper Rene Adler had saved his first shot.

Berlin players dance in a circle after the match

Berlin fans didn't think the team would be doing this much celebrating in March

Hertha's Rodnei headed wide in the only notable first-half moment before the hosts took the lead early in the second half. Leverkusen lost the ball in their half and Voronin then played a nice one-two with Maximilian Nicu before finding the net in lucky fashion.

"It got very tight in the end," Hertha coach Lucien Favre told reporters. "We beat one of the country's best teams who were better than us in the first half."

Hertha have won four of their last five games with Voronin on target seven times. The Ukraine forward scored both goals in a 2-1 win against Munich and all three in last week's 3-1 victory in Cottbus.

Bayern top Bochum

Coming off a 5-1 against Hanover and 7-1 over Sporting Lisbon, Munich found more resistance in Bochum but took the lead in the 32nd minute when Ze Roberto blasted home from inside the area.

Lahm celebrates his goal for Munich

Are Munich preparing to storm up the Bundesliga?

Bochum's Mark Pfertzel was sent off for a last-man foul on Jose Sosa in the 48th minute. Lukas Podolski sent the ensuing penalty wide left but Munich were assured of victory from Philipp Lahm on the hour and Martin Demichelis in the dying seconds.

"We passed the ball around well today," said Lahm, as Munich appear to have overcome a recent slump.

But Munich's injury woes grew when Miroslav Klose limped off to join Luca Toni, Franck Ribery and Tim Borowski on the sidelines.

Hoffenheim coach disappointed

Hoffenheim's winless run was stretched to six games when Frankfurt's Michael Fink headed home in the 48th to cancel out an early strike from Carlos Eduardo.

Hoffenheim and Frankfurt players struggle for the ball

Hoffenheim could be running out of steam

"I'm a little disappointed by the guys for the first time this season," Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick told reporters.

Borussia Moenchengladbach won 3-2 at western German rivals Cologne to further revive their hopes of staying in the top flight, with Michael Bradley on target twice and Karim Matmour and Rob Friend getting the others.

Hanover 96 fought from 2-0 and 4-2 down to earn a 4-4 draw with Borussia Dortmund, who failed again to get their first win of the year. Jiri Stajner, Arnold Bruggink, Maik Hanke and Mikael Forssell scored for the hosts, Alexander Frei and Florian Kringe two each for Dortmund.

Arminia Bielefeld won 1-0 at bottom club SC Karlsruhe courtesy of a goal from Zlatko Janjic late in the game, but they also had Chris Katongo sent off for time wasting.

On Friday, Grafite raised his tally to 17 goals to move within one of injured Hoffenheim striker Vedad Ibisevic in Wolfsburg's win over Schalke. He also fed Edin Dzeko for his 13th goal but coach Felix Magath named his young team "too inexperienced for a title fight."

A minute of silence was observed at all games to commemorate the 15 victims of a teenaged gunman who went on a shooting rampage in the south-western German town of Winnenden on Tuesday. Players and match officials also wore black armbands.

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