Andre Schürrle (r.) grabbed two assists, while Kevin De Bruyne (l.) struck twice as VfL Wolfsburg beat TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 3-0 ©Imago
Andre Schürrle (r.) grabbed two assists, while Kevin De Bruyne (l.) struck twice as VfL Wolfsburg beat TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 3-0 ©Imago

Wolfsburg and Hertha triumph; Köln held by Paderborn

Cologne - Debut victories took centre stage on Saturday afternoon as VfL Wolfsburg's marquee deadline-day signing Andre Schürrle helped the Wolves to a win over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, while Hertha Berlin triumphed over 1. FSV Mainz 05 in their first encounter under interim head coach Pal Dardai.

VfL Wolfsburg 3-0 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

Elsewhere, the spoils were shared between 1. FC Köln and SC Paderborn 07. rounds up the action...

Debutant Andre Schürrle played a part in two of Wolfsburg’s three goals as Dieter Hecking’s side beat Hoffenheim 3-0 to keep the pressure on league leaders FC Bayern München.

Schürrle quick out of the traps

Germany international Schürrle started on the left wing for Hecking’s charges in the absence of Ivan Perisic, who picked up a knock in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt. It didn’t take the 24-year-old long to make his mark as he sent in an inch-perfect cross for Bas Dost to prod home after just three minutes. The former Chelsea FC star was involved in the Wolves’ second goal too, cracking a thunderous shot against the crossbar which Kevin De Bruyne nodded into an empty net on the rebound.

Hoffenheim improved after the restart and were only denied a goal by some fine goalkeeping from Wolves’ custodian Diego Benaglio. First, the Swiss international did well to parry Roberto Firmino’s rasping effort out of harm’s way, before getting down low to palm away Anthony Modeste’s shot. However, it was the in-form De Bruyne who sealed the points for Wolfsburg six minutes from time, thumping the ball past Baumann from the edge of the area to make it 3-0 and extend the Wolves’ unbeaten run at the start of the Rückrunde.

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1. FSV Mainz 05 0-2 Hertha Berlin

Goals from Jens Hegeler and Roy Beerens handed interim Hertha head coach Pal Dardai a debut victory against Mainz at the Coface Arena, in a match that saw both teams end proceedings with ten men.

First-half strikes settle the score

Jos Luhukay’s successor made five changes to the side that lost to Bayer 04 Leverkusen in midweek, setting up his charges to stifle Mainz and seek out their opportunities on the break. Chances were few and far between, but when Lorius Karius dallied on the ball before bringing down Valentin Stocker in an attempt to clear his lines, the hosts found themselves a man down and a goal behind with Hegeler sweeping the spot-kick past substitute keeper Stefanos Kapinos, who had to pick the ball out of the back of the net a second time before the break.

Some sloppy defending allowed Stocker to break into the box and, having seen his initial effort blocked, proceeded to fire a second off the post with the rebound falling kindly for Beerens to slot past the bodies on the line. The capital city side came out in the second half with the clear objective of defending their two-goal lead and remained disciplined in executing their game plan, despite Fabian Lustenberger picking up a second bookable offence in the 58th minute. For all their possession Mainz posed little threat, with only Shinji Okazaki going close with what would have been nothing more than a late consolation effort.

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1. FC Köln 0-0 SC Paderborn 07

Köln maintained their unbeaten start to the New Year, but will have been disappointed not to take all three points against Paderborn, who rode their luck to hold the hosts to a second successive 0-0 draw.

Shooting boots not on show

Complete with Karneval kit, the Billy Goats created all the early pressure in a new-look 4-4-2 formation led from the front by Bard Finne - making his first start of the season - and top goalscorer Anthony Ujah. However, while they managed to keep Paderborn pinned inside their own half for the most part, goalscoring chances were at a premium with the best chance presenting in the 43rd minute when a well-executed counter worked its way to Finne, who failed to slot the ball between the legs of the onrushing Lukas Kruse with team-mates better placed.

In stark contrast to the first 45 minutes, the visitors came flying out of the traps in the second half as Michael Heinloth and Elias Kachunga both squandered chances within five minutes of the restart. With the proceedings opening up the chances started coming thick and fast as Timo Horn almost got caught out by a cheeky Alban Meha corner, while at the other end Kevin Vogt’s lobbed attempt beat Kruse, but not the post. Köln threw caution to the wind in the closing stages, but the lack of a clinical touch in front of goal ultimately prevented them picking up a second win of 2015.

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