Ivory Coast's Kalou strikes as high-flying Hertha stay third

AFP , Sunday 20 Dec 2015

Hertha Berlin
Hertha Berlin's Salomon Kalou celebrates scoring the second goal against Mainz (Reuters)

Hertha Berlin finish 2015 third in the Bundesliga after Ivory Coast striker Salomon Kalou netted in Sunday's 2-0 home win over Mainz to continue their impressive run of results.

The three points gives capital club Hertha their 10th win from 17 league games this season and leaves them behind only runaway leaders Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga table.

Hertha took the lead at Berlin's Olympic Stadium when Vladimir Darida fired home off his left boot on 34 minutes.

The hosts doubled their tally when a superb diagonal pass from Vedad Ibisevic put Kalou into space and the Ivory Coast striker held off his marker to fire home off his right on 54 minutes for his ninth goal of the season.

Earlier in the day, Bayern confirmed Pep Guardiola will leave them at the end of the season, to be replaced by Carlo Ancelotti, as they finished the year with an eight-point lead in the table after their 1-0 win at Hanover on Saturday.

Thomas Mueller converted a 40th minute penalty for his 14th league goal of the season after a handball from Hanover captain Christian Schulz as Bayern produced another jaded display, but still managed to claim their 15th win in 17 league games.

The defeat left Hanover second from bottom with 11 defeats in their 17 games.

Second-placed Borussia Dortmund dropped further behind after crashing to a 2-1 defeat at Cologne as the hosts scored twice in the final 10 minutes.

Greece centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos headed Dortmund into an 18th minute lead which Thomas Tuchel's side threw away in the closing stages.

Cologne took the three points when Simon Zoller fired home from close range on 83 minutes before Anthony Modeste hit the 90th-minute winner.

Bayer Leverkusen climbed to fourth in the table with a 1-0 win at Ingolstadt as Mexico striker Javier Hernandez kept up his stunning scoring run.

"Chicharito" claimed his 17th goal in Leverkusen's last 14 games in all competitions when he stabbed home his 11th league goal of the season since joining from Manchester United.

Europa League side Augsburg picked up their third straight win to move away from the relegation places into mid-table with a 1-0 victory at Hamburg thanks to Jan Moravek's headed equaliser.

Eintracht Frankfurt picked up their first win in eight matches to move out of the relegation zone when captain Alex Meier and Stefan Aigner scored in their 2-1 win at home to fellow strugglers Werder Bremen.

Vfb Stuggart also climbed out of the drop zone on goal difference after a 3-1 home win over Vfl Wolfsburg in Saturday's late game which led to caretaker coach Jurgen Kramny getting the job permanently on Sunday.

Schalke are up to fifth in the table thanks to Friday's 1-0 win against bottom-side Hoffenheim when Cameroon forward Eric Choupo-Moting was credited with a goal which deflected off Hoffenheim's Czech defender Pavel Kaderabek.

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