Leverkusen beats Bremen to lead the Bundesliga

[GERMANY] Bayer Leverkusen jumped to the top of the Bundesliga Tuesday in the first installment of a midweek round of games by dominating Werder Bremen, 2-0, in the night's big encounter.

The league's two top scoring sides looked set for a goalless stalemate for more than an hour in a pacy game that the visitors dominated through its more concise soccer and the creation of more clear-cut chances. But after 71 minutes Arturo Vidal pounced on a mistake by Bremen goalkeeper Christian Vander, who punched an effort from Patrick Helmes straight to Vidal's feet to convert from close range. Manuel Friedrich scored a similar effort nine minutes later by knocking in a Simon Rolfes shot that came back off the post.

"We're making the same mistakes again and again," said Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf after what was the team's fourth successive defeat. But, he added, "we have to stay calm. We'll make one or two adjustments to our game, but we still have 11 good players on the field." His Leverkusen counterpart Bruno Labbadia praised the way his team defended, "hardly allowing [Bremen] any chances. Up front we waited for our chance. So far we've played well this season."

U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley lasted for less than an hour of Borussia Moenchengladbach's 3-0 defeat at Wolfsburg before he was substituted out of the game. By that time his team was 2-0 down on goals by Edinaldo Batista Grafite and Alexander Madlung. Zvjezdan Misimovic added a penalty before the end. "It took us a while to get going, but the goal gave us the necessary confidence," said Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath. "I'm especially happy that we finally kept a clean sheet." Borussia's Hans Meyer praised his side's discipline up until the first Wolfsburg goal just before halftime, but conceded that in the second half "Wolfsburg simply had more class."

A 3-0 win for Schalke too, at lowly Karlsruhe, with goals from Marcelo Bordon, Kevin Kuranyi and Peruvian Jefferson Farfan. "When you let a team like Schalke play soccer then you've no chance," lamented Karlsruhe coach Edmund Becker. Schalke's Fred Rutten was happy that his team was "rewarded for the way we played. Karlsruhe only had one or two chances. I don't think many teams are going to come here and win 3-0."

At the bottom end of the standings, Arminia Bielefeld and Energie Cottbus shared the points in a 1-1 tie. Dimitar Rangelov put Cottbus ahead but was then dismissed just before the interval for his second yellow card. Artur Wichniarek leveled for the hosts.

In Wednesday's most important games, Hoffenheim travels to Bochum, Bayern Munich to Eintracht Frankfurt, and Hamburg entertains Stuttgart.

 

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