Hertha down Hoffenheim thanks to own goal in snowstorm


BERLIN (Reuters) - Fourth-placed Hertha Berlin beat Hoffenheim 1-0 thanks to their only effort on target which produced an own goal by the Bundesliga's bottom side in a match played in a driving snowstorm on Sunday.

There was not a flake in sight at kickoff but conditions changed dramatically as heavy snow began to fall at the Olympiastadion.

Within minutes the markings on the pitch had disappeared, players were slithering around the field and the white ball was exchanged for an orange one.

Amid the chaos, Hertha took the lead on the half hour when Hoffenheim's hapless Eugen Polanski inadvertently headed Marvin Plattenhardt's free kick into his own goal.

Goalkeeper Oliver Baumann clawed the ball away but goal-line technology indicated that it had crossed the line.

Conditions improved in the second half after helpers swept the snow off the field and Hoffenheim, who had not scored or conceded a goal in their first two games under new coach Huub Stevens, took control.

Kevin Volland miscued from a good position, Eduardo Vargas went close with a header and Hertha's John Brooks nearly scored an own goal as Hoffenheim pressed for an equaliser in the last 15 minutes.

Hertha have 23 points from 13 games with Hoffenheim on eight, including one win. Champions Bayern Munich, who won 3-1 at Schalke 04 on Saturday, lead the way with 37 points, eight clear of Borussia Dortmund who lost 3-1 at Hamburg SV on Friday.

In Sunday's other match, Ingolstadt, who have the worst attack and second-best defence in the league, came from behind to beat Darmstadt 3-1 in a battle of two promoted sides.

Despite having scored only 10 goals, Ingolstadt climbed to eighth with 19 points with the home win.

Aytac Sulu headed the visiting Lillies ahead after nine minutes but Ingolstadt turned the game around in a three-minute spell in the second half.

Robert Bauer scored from outside the penalty area in the 58th minute before Moritz Hartmann converted a penalty on the hour after Junior Diaz tripped Pascal Gross. Hartmann completed the win by heading his second of the game with two minutes left.

(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris)

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