(CNN) -- A Vedad Ibisevic hat-trick helped Hoffenheim to a 5-1 thrashing of struggling Hertha Berlin on Sunday to move into third in the Bundesliga.
Hertha, fourth last season, are bottom this term to heap the pressure on coach Lucien Favre early in the campaign.
Ibisevic, who was prolific last season as Hoffenheim led at the midwinter break before fading, scored his first goals of the season in the first, fourth and 21st minutes.
It left Hoffenheim well on the way to three points although Raffael did pull a goal back in first half stoppage time.
Further home strikes from Chinedu Obasi and Carlos Eduardo around the hour mark confirmed a thumping victory which leaves them three points adrift of leaders SV Hamburg and Bayer Leverkusen.
Bosnian striker Ibisevic scored 18 goals in the first 17 games of last season, but he tore his cruciate ligaments in the winter break and has taken time to recover.
He had the ball in the back of the net shortly after the kick off, finishing a fine team move which involved Sejad Salihovic and Obasi.
The 25-year-old added his second just three minutes later as he headed home Eduardo's corner and completed his hat-trick after another flowing move, heading home emphatically from a Andreas Beck pass.
Raffael's free-kick left Timo Hildebrand no chance in first half stoppage time, as it went in off the inside of the post.
But Favre's men could make no further impression and Obasi added a home fourth as Hertha failed to clear the ball.
Eduardo completed the scoring with a penalty soon afterwards after Ibisevic had been brought down inside the area by Marc Stein.
In Sunday's other match, promoted Freiburg beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 3-0 for their second straight win, having thrashed hapless Hertha Berlin 4-0 in the previous round.
Mohamadou Idrissou, Yacine Abdessadki and Julian Schuster scored second half goals for Freiburg.