• Monday, 21 December 2009

    Leverkusen end year on top: Bundesliga reviews

    Schalke 1-0 Mainz
    Leverkusen 3-2 Monchengladbach
    Bayern 5-2 Hertha
    Hannover 2-3 Bochum
    Dortmund 1-0 Freiburg
    Eintracht 2-2 Wolfsburg
    Stuttgart 3-1 Hoffenheim
    Hamburg 2-1 Bremen
    Cologne 3-0 Nurnberg

    The notional title of 'winter champions' goes to Leverkusen this year as they end 2009 top of the pile. This title, such as it is, can often be a curse - witness Hoffenheim's implosion a year ago - but with them not having lost this season to date, Leverkusen will be confident they can come through. They have drawn a lot though, which is why they lead by just a single point. Indeed, they were bumped off top spot briefly this weekend when Schalke beat Mainz on Friday night. Jefferson Farfan's early goal was enough, the Peruvian starting and finishing the move as Schalke worked it forward and Farfan beat the offside trap and the onrushing keeper to prod the ball home. Toni Kroos was the start for Leverkusen as they went back top on Saturday despite going behind to Gladbach. Kroos put his side ahead early on, driving the ball in through a real crowd scene, but Roel Brouwers headed Gladbach level and Danté bundled the ball in from a corner just after the break to put the visitors ahead. Eren Derdiyok was afforded too much time and space in the box as he levelled things up on the hour and Kroos popped up with the winner from the edge of the box twenty minutes from time.

    Bayern are in third after a big win at home over rock bottom Hertha. Daniel van Buyten has been in great goal-scoring form this term and the big Belgian defender set his side on their way on the quarter hour. Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben made it three by half-time and wunderkind Thomas Muller added a fourth five minutes into the second half. Gustavo Ramos pulled one back, but Ivica Olic notched Bayern's fifth shortly afterwards. Raffael got a second for Hertha in stoppage time. Bremen lost again, this time to near neighbours Hamburg who survived an hour with ten men. Joris Matijsen had put Hamburg ahead before Jerome Boateng was sent off after half an hour. Despite that, Marcell Janssen increased Hamburg's lead and they held Bremen out until Naldo got one back in second half stoppage time - too little, too late. Dortmund kept up their good run of results, Lucas Barrios with the only goal of the game against Freiburg while Wolfsburg were held by Eintracht. Maik Franz put the Frankfurters ahead, but Edin Dzeko and Josué put the champions into the lead with twenty minutes to go. Ten minutes from time, Alex Meier equalised to seal a point for Eintracht.

    A big win, a much needed one at that, came for Stuttgart at home to Hoffenheim. Maicosuel equalised for the Villagers on the stroke of half-time after Ciprian Marica's penalty had put Stuttgart ahead, but Luis Dias's red card shortly after the break hampered Hoffenheim. Cacau restored Stuttgart's lead and Sami Khedira made it safe late on. Bochum also won, coming from two down at Hannover. Jan Schlaudraff hit two in the first half to put Hannover ahead, but it was a complete turnaround after half-time, Paul Freier, Joel Epalle and, with four minutes to go, Christian Fuchs all on target for Bochum. Cologne also got a much-needed win, sticking three away past Nurnberg who finished with ten when Juri Judt was sent off late on. Pedro Geromel and two from Milivoje Novakovic had already helped Cologne into a comfortable lead by that point and Nurnberg finish the year second bottom, four points adrift of the clubs immediately above them.

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