Bundesliga: Hoffenheim wins late, Gladbach closes in on top

Associated Press
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Borussia Monchengladbach jumped above Bayern Munich to move second in the German top flight with a 3-1 road victory over Werder Bremen thanks to a hat-trick from Alassane Plea in Saturday Bundesliga action.

Plea struck from all kinds of situations as he ended a personal three-match scoreless streak in a big way. He struck first in the 39th minute after good work against a double-team on the right side of the box, shooting a low curler with his left foot that tucked inside the far post.

The French international’s second came just after halftime as he charged towards a low corner delivery and cut the ball with his right foot through traffic and into the back of the net. He capped it off four minutes later by finishing off a great cutback from Oscar Wendt.

Elsewhere, Hoffenheim got a late winner for the home fans to savor as they beat Augsburg 2-1. 18-year-old English youngster Reiss Nelson was the man to cap the three points, catching the rebound off a saved turn-and-shoot from Adam Szalai and putting it into the empty net. The goal came just seven minutes from full-time after Andrej Kramaric and Alfred Finnbogason cancelled each other out just four minutes apart after halftime.

Fortuna Dusseldorf picked up a huge win, keeping pace with Stuttgart on the bottom with a 4-1 toppling of 10-man Hertha Berlin. Max Mittelstadt was sent off four minutes before the break for his second yellow card, and that left the visitors vulnerable. Dusseldorf scored all four goals after halftime, with substitute Benito Raman coming off the bench to finish with a brace.

Mainz scored a pair of goals inside the opening 20 minutes as they win 3-1 at Freiburg to jump their opponents and move into the top half of the table. Finally, Timo Baumgartl got the all-important opener as Stuttgart beat Nurnburg 2-0, although the win wasn’t enough to pull them off the bottom of the table thanks to Dusseldorf also picking up a victory.