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Stuttgart claims Bundesliga title with late-season surge
May 21st, 2007 7AM

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VfB Stuttgart completed a late-season surge with a 2-1 victory over Energie Cottbus on Saturday that extended its winning streak to eight games and secured the young team the 2007 German Bundesliga title.

The title was the fifth for Stuttgart, which moved ahead of long-suffering Schalke 04 on the second-to-last week of the season.

For a few brief moments, it looked like Schalke might get the miracle it needed to capture its first Bundesliga title. Stuttgart trailed Cottbus after Sergiu Radu's deflected shot beat Timo Hildebrand in the 19th minute, but goals from Thomas Hitzlsperger on a brilliant long-range shot in the 28th minute and Sami Khedira's goal in the second half took Stuttgart its first Bundesliga title in 15 years.

For those nine minutes before Hitzlsperger's bomb, Schalke, which was leading and beat Arminia Bielefeld, 2-1, was back in first place.

"Nine minutes are better than four," said Schalke 04 coach Mirko Slomka, alluding to the four minutes Schalke was "champion" in 2001 before before Bayern snatched the title with a stoppage-time equalizer.

Last season, Stuttgart finished ninth, 32 points behind champion Bayern. It was fourth in the Bundesliga at the winter break. It now goes for the double next Saturday when it faces Nuremberg in the German Cup final.

COACHING MOVES. Wolfsburg fired Coach Klaus Augenthaler on Saturday after finishing 15th in the Bundesliga and just avoiding relegation

Aachen coach Michael Frontzeck announced his resignation after its 4-0 loss at Hamburg on Saturday ended its season. Aachen, finished 17th and will return to the Second Division.


FINAL STANDINGS:
1 VfB Stuttgart 70
2 Schalke 04 68
-------------------------
3 Werder Bremen 66
-------------------------
4 Bayern Munich 60
5 Bayer Leverkusen 51
6 Nuremberg 48
-------------------------
7 Hamburg 45
8 Bochum 45
9 Borussia Dortmund 44
10 Hertha Berlin 44
11 Hannover 44
12 Arminia Bielefeld 42
13 Energie Cottbus 41
14 Eintracht Frankfurt 40
15 Wolfsburg 37
-------------------------
16 Mainz 34
17 Alemannia Aachen 34
18 Borussia Moen. 26

Placements:
1-2: Champions League group stage
3: Champions League preliminary round
4-6: UEFA Cup
16-18: Relegation



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