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Bundesliga leaders Hoffenheim look to keep up early pace

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 29 Aug 2008

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Shock early Bundesliga leaders Hoffenheim are looking for their third straight league win on Saturday when they tackle Bayer Leverkusen to continue their dream start to life in Germany's top tier.

Hoffenheim won their second promotion in two years after finishing as runners-up in the Bundesliga's second division last season and have caused a stir by topping the table after two rounds.

Backed by German multi-millionaire Dietmar Hopp, Hoffenheim have climbed from the lower regions of Germany's league system to take their place in the Bundesliga.

They humbled perennial strugglers Energie Cottbus 3-0 on the opening weekend, before beating fellow new-boys Borussia Moenchengladbach 1-0 last weekend.

But they face far tougher challenges in the next few weeks starting with Leverkusen on Saturday before taking on Dortmund, Stuttgart and Werder Bremen in the following weeks.

Leverkusen are without their injured Germany goalkeeper Rene Adler who is out until the middle of September with a damaged shoulder.

But Bayer are hoping to have defender Michal Kadlec in the side after signing the 23-year-old from Sparta Prague, while Germany striker Stefan Kiessling is expected to shake off a midweek cold.

Having been signed for a reported eight million euros (11.8 million US dollars) from Bayern Munich, Hamburg's new defender Marcell Jansen is expected to make his debut on Saturday against Arminia Bielefeld.

“He has trained well with Bayern and he could make an appearance,” said Hamburg coach Martin Jol.

Less then 24 hours after Jansen left for Hamburg, Bayern announced on Thursday they had signed Italian World Cup winner Massimo Oddo on loan from AC Milan, who will train with Jurgen Klinsmann's side on Monday.

Having led the Bundesliga from start to finish last season, Bayern Munich are in the unusual position of being midtable after two draws so far this season and take on Hertha Berlin at the Allianz Arena on Sunday.

In midweek, Stuttgart played against Hungarian side Gyor, while Hertha Berlin played Slovenia's Ljubljana in the UEFA cup.

On Sunday, Stuttgart play Hanover, who have got off to a poor start with a defeat to Schalke and draw with Energie Cottbus, while Hertha are at Munich and will expect a hard battle from the German giants chasing their first league win.

Wolfsburg entertain Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday and are hoping to have 20-year-old Brazilian Caiuby in their side.

The striker from second division Brazilian side Sao Caetanao arrived in Germany on Thursday and Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath wants to pay 2.5 million euros for his services.

“He is fast, dangerous in front of goal and has great vision,” said Magath.

On Friday night, Bundesliga new boys Karlsruhe and Cologne, who both came up at the end of last season, will do battle as Cologne look for their first win of the season while Karlsruhe look to recover from last weekend's defeat by Hamburg.

Friday

Karlsruhe v Cologne

Saturday

Schalke 04 v VfL Bochum

VfL Wolfsburg v Eintracht Frankfurt

Bayer Leverkusen v 1899 Hoffenheim

Energie Cottbus v Borussia Dortmund

Arminia Bielefeld v Hamburg

Borussia M'gladbach v Werder Bremen

Sunday

Bayern Munich v Hertha Berlin

VfB Stuttgart v Hanover 96

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