Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer conceded a late own goal Friday as Hoffenheim kept up their dream start to the season to claim their third-straight victory with a 2-0 win over Schalke.
With time almost up, Hoffenheim midfielder Sejad Salihovic clattered the Schalke goalpost with a free-kick and Neuer could only watch as the ball bounced off his chest into the net, deep into extra time.
“We had bad luck today and haven’t taken our chances,” said Neuer. “It is annoying that in three games we have now conceded six goals.”
Earlier 22-year-old Ghana defender Isaac Vorsah’s first-half header had given hosts Hoffenheim the lead. It was his second strike in two games as his late goal against St Pauli settled his side’s last match a fortnight ago.
Despite the win, Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick was highly critical of his side’s overall performance.
“I am not satisfied with the first half, we didn’t play really well,” he said. “We only earned the victory in the second half.”
Schalke, who have now lost all three games so far this season, gave a debut to Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar but the former AC Milan player was unable to stop the rot at his new club.
The result is further bad news for Schalke who will go into next week’s Champions League match against Lyon with three defeats as last season’s runners-up endure a nightmare start to the season.
Schalke coach Felix Magath took the defeat on the chin, but spent most of the match fuming on the sidelines.
“I am satisfied with the game, we produced a good performance,” he said. “Unfortunately, we conceded two goals, that is unfortunate, but it can happen.”
Hoffenheim took the lead when captain Andreas Beck curled in a cross and with Vorsah unmarked in the area, the Black Star defender launched his header past Neuer.
The Germany goalkeeper had earlier kept his side in the game with several close-range saves, until his last-minute clanger, while Huntelaar squandered a golden chance to put his side ahead after only 10 minutes when he fired wide.
Kaiserslautern, Mainz, Hamburg and Hanover can all join Hoffenheim at the top of the table on Saturday as joint leaders if they win their respective matches.
Defending champions Bayern Munich take on Werder Bremen on Saturday.
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