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Leaders Hoffenheim crushed by Leverkusen

  • Story Highlights
  • Bundesliga leaders Hoffenheim are crushed 4-1 at home by Bayer Leverkusen
  • The result sees the surprise packages slump to their biggest defeat of season
  • The winners of Saturday's match between Hertha and Bayern will top the table
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(CNN) -- Bundesliga leaders Hoffenheim were hammered 4-1 at home by Bayer Leverkusen on Friday, meaning the winners of Saturday's showdown between Hertha Berlin and Bayern Munich will go top of the German table.

Leverkusen players celebrate Patrick Helmes (left) scoring the opening goal at Hoffenheim.

Leverkusen players celebrate Patrick Helmes (left) scoring the opening goal at Hoffenheim.

Germany striker Patrick Helmes proved the difference between the two sides at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena, scoring twice to lift Leverkusen into fourth place and hand Hoffenheim their heaviest defeat of the season -- and the first at their newly-opened stadium.

The visitors went ahead as early as the third minute when Renato Augusto's cross was superbly finished by Helmes and they doubled their advantage just five minutes later when captain Simon Rolfes stabbed home following a scramble in the goalmouth.

The home side pulled a goal back on 30 minutes when goalkeeper Rene Adler fouled Senegal striker Demba Ba in the penalty area, with midfielder Sejad Salihovic making no mistake from the spot.

But Hoffenheim fell further behind just before the interval when Helmes again showed clinical finishing to fire the ball past Timo Hildebrand.

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Leverkusen made sure of the three points when Gonzalo Castro lobbed his header over Hildebrand three minutes after the break.

The result leaves Hoffenheim top by a point from Bayern, with Hertha another point behind in third position.

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