19.02.2022 18:34 h

Kramaric returns to lift Hoffenheim into top four

Croatian striker Andrej Kramaric returned from a Covid absence to score a late winner as Hoffenheim battled from behind to win 2-1 at Wolfsburg on Saturday and go fourth in the Bundesliga.

Kramaric missed his side's win over Arminia Bielefeld last weekend after a positive Covid test, but returned with a bang to fire Hoffenheim into the Champions League spots.

"We can always rely on Andrej -- it was barely noticeable that he'd been in quarantine today," said team-mate Jacob Bruun Larsen.

Hoffenheim's win keeps the heat on RB Leipzig, who play Hertha Berlin on Sunday, in a rollercoaster race for the top four.

Danish striker Jonas Wind curled in a superb finish on 36 minutes to score his first Bundesliga goal since joining Wolfsburg from FC Copenhagen in January.

But the strike was not enough to hand his struggling side a much-needed third successive win in their bid to pull away from the relegation fight.

Fellow Dane Bruun Larsen equalised for Hoffenheim with quarter of an hour to play, picking out the bottom corner with a delightful overhead kick.

Kramaric completed the comeback a few minutes later, bundling a David Raum cross over the line to give Hoffenheim a second win in a row.

Sebastian Hoeness' side remain level on points with fifth-placed Freiburg, who won 2-1 at Augsburg.

The visitors took an early lead through a Nils Petersen header. Nico Schlotterbeck sealed the win after Michael Gregoritsch had briefly brought Augsburg level.

Union Berlin lost further ground in the race for Europe as they succumbed 1-0 away to Arminia Bielefeld.

Japanese midfielder Masaya Okugawa's second-half goal was enough to lift Bielefeld three points above the relegation play-off spot and condemn high-flying Union to a third successive loss.

The capital club have not scored in any of their last three, as they struggle to adapt after losing star striker Max Kruse to Wolfsburg in the January transfer window.

"We're creating plenty of chances but we just can't get the ball over the line," said striker Sven Michel.

Union's defeat allowed Cologne to move up to sixth after they beat Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 thanks to a late goal from French striker Anthony Modeste.

Modeste nutmegged goalkeeper Kevin Trapp six minutes from time to score his 15th goal of the season and lift his side into the Europa Conference League spot.

At the other end of the table, a late penalty from Eduard Loewen saved a 1-1 draw for Bochum in Stuttgart, denying the hosts their first win in eight games.

After a second-half own goal from Armel Bella Kotchap, Stuttgart looked on course to claim a much-needed win which would have lifted pressure on embattled American coach Pellegrino Matarazzo.

But a late foul from Konstantinos Mavropanos on Sebastian Polter allowed Loewen to level from the spot with the last kick of the match.

"It's bitter, because Konstantinos has been one of our best players in the last few weeks. We are all hugely disappointed," Stuttgart goalkeeper Florian Mueller told Sky.