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Rediff.com  » Sports » Schalke and Bayern register wins

Schalke and Bayern register wins

December 14, 2009 09:39 IST

VfB Stuttgart squandered the chance to lift themselves further away from trouble when they conceded a late penalty to draw 1-1 at Mainz on Sunday.

Former Germany keeper Jens Lehmann was sent off three minutes from time after blocking the ball and pushing Mainz striker Aristide Bance for no apparent reason, the referee awarding a penalty which was converted by Eugen Polanski.

Stuttgart's Pavel Pogrebnyak had used his knee to direct an Arthur Boka cross into the net from five metres on 11 minutes to give Stuttgart the lead.

Stuttgart, who have qualified for the Champions League knockout stage, are down in 15th place on 13 points.

Bayer Leverkusen top the standings on 32 points, with Schalke 04 in second place, a point behind.

On a snowy and bitterly cold afternoon, Stuttgart looked to be cruising to their first league win since late September and only their third this season when Pogrebnyak grabbed the early lead.

New coach Christian Gross, who took over last week and saw his team qualify in the Champions League in his first match in charge, looked content as Stuttgart dominated and missed a chance to double their lead through Ciprian Marica.

Mainz battled on and came close in the second half when Florian Heller whipped in a low cross from the right but none of the strikers could connect.

With three minutes left the match was turned on its head, with the notoriously temperamental Lehmann, fined in midweek by his club for comments in the press regarding Stuttgart fans, pushing the Burkina Faso striker after blocking the ball.

"He steps on (Bance's) foot," said Stuttgart sporting director Horst Heldt. "He played great throughout the match and it is extremely bitter that this happened. We now have to live with it."

Polanski sent substitute keeper Sven Ulreich the wrong way to grab a point for Mainz, who moved up to eighth place on 24 points.

Dortmund, helped by two early goals from Argentine Lucas Barrios, won 3-1 at champions VfL Wolfsburg to move up to sixth place on 27 points. Wolfsburg are ninth on 23.

SCHALKE END BREMEN'S UNBEATEN RUN

Earlier on Saturday, Striker Kevin Kuranyi scored and set up another as Schalke 04 ended Werder Bremen's 23-match unbeaten run with a 2-0 win to move into second place.

The result lifted Schalke to 31 points, one off pacesetters Bayer Leverkusen, with Bremen, who had not lost since the first matchday back in August in all competitions, dropping to fourth on 28.

Bayern Munich, who crushed VfL Bochum 5-1, are third on 30 points after 16 matches.

Bremen and Schalke played a cautious first half with the hosts more aggressive and Schalke lurking for a counter attack.

Their patience paid off two minutes after the restart when Kuranyi broke the offside trap after a through ball from Lewis Holtby, sidestepped keeper Tim Wiese and slotted home for his eighth goal of the season.

The striker, desperate to win back a spot in the Germany squad ahead of next year's World Cup, turned provider in the 72nd minute when he set up substitute Jan Moravek, who had come on seconds earlier, to fire home Schalke's second goal, helped by a deflection.

DOMINANT BAYERN

Resurgent Bayern Munich demolished hosts VfL Bochum to record their third straight Bundesliga win.

Bayern, fielding the same team that crushed Juventus 4-1 in midweek to reach the Champions League knockout stage, broke Bochum's double defensive line in the 23rd minute when Olic floated a low cross for Gomez to sneak between two defenders and tap in.

The Bavarians, who have now won five in a row in all competitions, doubled their lead 11 minutes later when Bochum defender Mergim Mavraj deflected a seemingly harmless Danijel Pranjic cross into his own net.

Olic scored either side of halftime before unmarked Pranjic grabbed another with a shot inside the box in the 56th minute.

Bochum, in complete disarray since the first half, managed to score when Fuchs curled his free kick over keeper Hans-Joerg Butt in the 76th minute.

"It is difficult to stay in focus after such a win as our (Champions League) win over Juventus," said Bayern coach Louis van Gaal. "But my players did it. It is a bit of a shame not to have kept a clean sheet but after a 4-1 in Turin and a 5-1 in Bochum a coach can only be satisfied."

Hamburg thumped hosts Nuremberg 4-0 to stay close to the the top, in fifth place on 28 points.

Borussia Moenchengladbach were gifted three own goals from Hanover 96 players in a 5-3 win that consolidated their position in mid-table.

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