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Hoffenheim dent Wolfsburg’s top-four hopes

Berlin: VfL Wolfsburg’s hopes of breaking into the Bundesliga’s top four suffered a setback on Sunday after being drubbed 6-2 at mid-table Hoffenheim.

Wolfsburg finished the match with 10 men as German international Christian Traesch was sent off.

Dieter Hecking’s Wolves had hoped for three points in Hoffenheim to take fourth spot from Schalke 04, who were routed at runaway league leaders Bayern Munich on Saturday.

Dutch striker Bas Dost had equalised for Wolves with 15 minutes gone after Roberto Firmino’s fourth-minute strike gave Hoffenheim the lead, but the hosts responded with three goals.

Hoffenheim led 4-1 at the break as defender Niklas Suele netted before French striker Anthony Modeste scored two goals in four minutes.

Croatia forward Ivan Perisic pulled a goal back for Wolves with 15 minutes left.

But the visitors had right-back Traesch sent off for a foul in the area and Hoffenheim’s Sejad Salihovic netted the penalty before Modeste’s replacement Sven Schipplock hit their sixth.

Wolfsburg’s result leaves them fifth.

It means all three teams immediately behind leaders Bayern Munich and second-placed Borussia Dortmund, who beat Nuremberg 3-0 on Saturday, suffered defeats over the weekend.

VfB Stuttgart are fourth from bottom after losing 2-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt in what was a club record eighth straight defeat and heaped further pressure on coach Thomas Schneider.

Stuttgart striker Martin Harnik’s first-half goal was cancelled out by Eintracht midfielder Jan Rosenthal ten minutes from time before captain Alexander Meier hit the 89th-minute winner.

On Saturday, an Arjen Robben hat-trick saw Bayern open a 20-point lead at the top of the table with a 5-1 win over ten-man Schalke 04.

The Royal Blues suffered a second drubbing in four days after losing 6-1 to Real Madrid in Wednesday’s Champions League clash.

Bayern extended their record unbeaten league run to 48 matches, dating back to October 2012, and earned their 15th straight league victory.

Bayern raced into a 4-0 lead inside half-an-hour as left-back David Alaba netted a free-kick, then Robben scored either side of Mario Mandzukic’s header.

Schalke were gifted a goal when Jefferson Farfan’s corner was turned into his own net by Munich right-back Rafinha, in for captain Philipp Lahm, with 25 minutes left.

To compound Schalke’s misery, Greece centre-back Kyriakos Papadopoulos was shown a straight red for bringing down Mandzukic in the area.

His foul allowed Robben to wrap up his hat-trick with a 77th-minute penalty.

Coach Pep Guardiola flippantly told reporters “don’t ask me about the title” in broken German on Friday, but with 11 league games left, Bayern can wrap up their 24th German league title by the end of March.

Dortmund went second after their comfortable win over Nuremberg as Germany defender Mats Hummels netted on his return after four weeks out with a foot injury.

Poland star Robert Lewandowski scored his 15th league goal of the season before Henrikh Mkhitaryan netted their third seven minutes from time.

Bayer Leverkusen’s dreadful form continued with their fourth straight home defeat as they lost 1-0 at home to Mainz, who moved up to sixth with their fifth win in eight games.

Cameroon striker Eric Choupo-Moting slammed home the winner past goalkeeper Bernd Leno on 37 minutes as Leverkusen suffered their eighth defeat in ten games to drop to third.

Curiously, both goalkeepers scored own goals as Borussia Moenchengladbach, who are winless in their last eight games, were held to a 1-1 draw at bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig.