(updates with quotes, details)
BERLIN Feb 28 Hertha Berlin returned to the top
of the Bundesliga with a 2-1 home win over bottom side Borussia
Moenchengladbach while lacklustre Hoffenheim dropped to third
after a 0-0 draw at Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.
Hertha's Andriy Voronin struck after 28 minutes against the
run of play when Cicero's sharp through ball found the Ukraine
forward who chipped the ball over goalkeeper Logan Bailly for
his seventh goal of the season.
A minute before halftime Patrick Ebert played a beautiful
ball to Pal Dardai who doubled Hertha's lead with a low drive
before the visitors pulled one back with a Michael Bradley
penalty in the 69th.
The speedy Voronin, on loan from Liverpool, was a constant
danger despite being a lone striker because attacking partner
Marko Pantelic is still out injured.
Moenchengladbach, who were much improved in the second half,
came close to equalising several times through veteran Oliver
Neuville and the talented Marko Marin but stay on 16 points.
In the final minutes, Hertha could have extended their lead
but Bailly, outstanding throughout, twice denied Raffael and
"For me it was no surprise that it became tight towards the
end," said Hertha coach Lucien Favre. "But it was hugely
important to get the three points after our defeat against
Wolfsburg (last Saturday)."
Hertha, on 43 points, are two points ahead of Hoffenheim.
Second-placed Hamburg SV host VfL Wolfsburg, who are fifth, on
Sunday when champions Bayern Munich, in fourth, visit mid-table
DIP IN FORM
In a scrappy encounter in Dortmund, Hoffenheim, who have now
gone four matches without a win, failed to impress yet again in
an error-strewn performance lacking spark and inspiration.
Dortmund settled for their 12th draw in 22 league matches
this season but looked the livelier side with Tamas Hajnal the
provider behind forwards Mohamed Zidan and Nelson Valdez.
Even when Hoffenheim striker Chinedu Obasi came on for the
struggling Boubacar Sanogo, the visitors failed to find the form
that had previously taken them to the top of the Bundesliga.
"Despite being better in the second half we had far too many
wrong passes to get anything out of this," said Hoffenheim coach
Both teams finished with 10 men after Hoffenheim's Tobias
Weis saw red for violent conduct and Dortmund's Sebastian Kehl
was sent off for a second booking, both in the 77th minute.
Bayer Leverkusen suffered a setback in their race to stay in
touch with the top sides, losing 1-0 at Hanover and dropping one
place to sixth on 36 points.
Schalke 04 moved up to seventh with a 2-1 win at Eintracht
Frankfurt while VfL Bochum won their relegation battle with
Energie Cottbus 3-2 after twice falling behind before Marc
Pfertzel's penalty 11 minutes from time snatched the points.
(Writing by Karolos Grohmann in Athens; Editing by Sonia
Oxley and Ken Ferris)