• Monday, 22 February 2010

    Top three all stumble: Bundesliga reviews

    Hoffenheim 2-2 Monchengladbach
    Cologne 1-5 Stuttgart
    Nurnberg 1-1 Bayern
    Dortmund 4-1 Hannover
    Hamburg 0-0 Eintracht
    Mainz 0-0 Bochum
    Freiburg 0-3 Hertha
    Bremen 2-2 Leverkusen
    Wolfsburg 2-1 Schalke

    The top three were all leading their games this weekend, but all three were pegged back. It's not had a massive effect on the table though, as none of the chasers could take advantage. Leverkusen still lead by a single goal after a pulsating draw at Bremen. Twice they led, first when Eren Derdiyok fired in a superb free-kick on the half hour. Five minutes later, Naldo blasted an effort towards the Leverkusen goal and Rene Adler had a shocker, spilling the ball backwards between his legs where Claudio Pizarro followed in to make sure. Quarter of an hour after the break, Toni Kroos blazed in a beauty from 30 yards to restore the lead and that looked like being enough until Per Mertesacker headed powerfully past Adler from point blank range to earn a deserved point. Wunderkind Thomas Muller put Bayern ahead just before the break with a tidy finish, opening his body out and placing it in the top corner from a Mario Gomez cross. Lowly Nurnberg were gifted a route back into the game by a mistake from Hans-Jorg Butt who spilled a routine catch into the path of Ilkay Gundogan who, at the second attempt, bundled it in. Grafite finally came to life for Wolfsburg as they came from behind to beat Schalke, spoiling Felix Magath's return to the VW-Arena. Die Wolfe played a lot better than recently and could have gone in front early on, Zvjezdan Misimovic smashing a free-kick off the crossbar, but it was a nicely placed Kevin Kuranyi header that opened the scoring on the half hour. Into the second half, Edin Dzeko and Grafite both hit the bar in the space of a second as the Schalke goal led a charmed life, but Manuel Neuer was finally beaten twenty minutes from the end, Grafite heading in a looping cross that tempted Neuer to come just a bit too far. Six minutes later, the big Brazilian left Neuer stranded as he blasted Christian Gentner's cross high into the roof of the net.

    Hamburg were held to a goalless draw at home by Eintracht whose neighbours Mainz were also held to 0-0, at home against Bochum. Stuttgart and Dortmund both won big to pull themselves back towards contention. Hannover coach Mirko Slomka labelled his charges "a bunch of schoolboys" after Dortmund dished out a 4-1 kicking. Neven Subotic put BvB in front on the stroke of half-time, but it was Mario Eggiman's own goal on the hour that sent Hannover into a downward spiral. Nelson Valdez added a third and, though Arouna Koné pulled one back, Kevin Grosskreutz made it four a couple of minutes from time. Stuttgart went one better, sticking five past Cologne. Cacau got four of them, three of them before the break. Christopher Schorch got one back a minute out from half-time, but Pavel Pogrebnyak and Cacau's fourth sent Cologne tumbling to defeat. It looked like Hoffenheim were heading towards another defeat, but they turned it round at home to Gladbach. A harsh penalty - no doubt that Christian Eichner handled the ball, but he was outside the box - from Filip Daems put Gladbach ahead and Roberto Colautti made it two early in the second half. Vedad Ibisevic had missed a couple of golden opportunities in the first half and pulled one back to settle an increasingly uneasy crowd at the Rhein-Neckar Arena and a last-minute Carlos Eduardo penalty rescued a point.

    Finally, Hertha recorded win number three of the campaign which brings them within sight of safety. They're now just four points adrift of Freiburg and Bundesliga football for the 2010/11 season and it was they who were defeated. After Gustavo Ramos put the Berliners ahead, Cícero struck twice to win it and give his side a fighting chance of staving off what looked even a month ago as the inevitable.

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