European Football: Kaiserslautern claim the half-way lead in Germany

A last-minute goal by the Bulgarian midfielder, Marian Hristov, gave Kaiserslautern a 2-1 victory over nine-man Hamburg on Saturday and made them the first promoted club to reach the half-way stage of the German Bundesliga in the lead.

Never before in the Bundesliga's 34-year history has a promoted club won the "autumn championship". The best performance by a promoted team at the midway point since the league was created in 1963 was by Bayern Munich in 1965-66. They were second at the break and went on to finish third.

Despite having the former Leeds striker Tony Yeboah sent off in the 41st minute for two bookable offences, Hamburg took the lead in the 58th minute through Hasan Salihamidzic. The Brazilian midfielder Ratinho equalised with an acrobatic volley in the 75th minute and, after Hamburg's Markus Schopp was also shown a red card, Hristov headed home a Martin Wagner cross.

In Italy, Argentina's Diego Simeone struck twice in five minutes and Brazil's Ronaldo added a third as the Serie A leaders Internazionale bounced back from their midweek Uefa Cup defeat to Strasbourg with a 3-1 win at Vicenza yesterday.

However, Inter were forced to ride their luck as Vicenza, the Cup-Winners' Cup quarter-finalists, had an eighth-minute goal disallowed and missed a 12th-minute penalty with the scores still level.

Jurgen Klinsmann, the former Tottenham striker, scored his first league goal since returning to Serie A as Sampdoria recovered from 2-0 down to force a 2-2 draw at Bologna.

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