FRANKFURT, Germany — Roberto Firmino scored two goals and set up another as Hoffenheim beat Kaiserslautern 3-1 in the first leg of the Bundesliga playoff on Thursday.
The winner of the two-leg showdown will play in the Bundesliga next season.
Mohamadou Idrissou's goal in the 58th minute gives Kaiserslautern hope for the second leg at home on Monday.
Firmino struck in the 11th and 29th minutes, and provided the pass for substitute Sven Schipplock's goal in the 67th.
Hoffenheim finished the season in 16th place in the Bundesliga, while Kaiserslautern was third in the second division.
Erwin Hoffer had a chance to put Kaiserslautern ahead in the fifth minute, but goalkeeper Koen Casteels turned away his shot.
Firmino scored by diverting a free kick from Sejad Salihovic from close range. The Brazilian doubled the lead after a good run by full-back Andreas Beck, who sent a low cross across the goal and Firmino netted again from close range at the far post.
Idrissou scored off a good through pass from Alexander Baumjohann, but Schipplock sealed the win two minutes after coming on.
He won the ball from Marc Torrejon, passed to Firmino, who slipped it back to Schipplock and he drilled the ball inside the close post.
"We scored away and that gives us a chance for the second leg," Baumjohann said.
Hoffenheim's coach Markus Gisddol said his team was in a "comfortable position."
But his counterpart Franco Foda said his team was able to score "two or three goals" at home.
"Hoffenheim had four shots at goal and scored three. We made one mistake too many," Foda said.