Bayer Leverkusen went top of the Bundesliga on goal difference as Hoffenheim lost in Berlin, but Bayern Munich is lurking one point behind in third
place after winning the weekend's big game at Schalke 04. U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley
played through as Borussia Moenchengladbach picked up three
points at struggling Bielefeld.
Schalke and Bayern flew out of the blocks with Luca Toni
scoring after three minutes before Peruvian forward
equalized just two minutes later. Before halftime, Franck Ribery
had restored the Bayern lead at 2-1,
and that's how it stayed throughout a moribund second half. "We want to claim top spot as quickly as possible," said Bayern coach Juergen
. "If we keep picking up points, it's only a question of time." Schalke coach Fred Rutten
said his team "played some good
soccer in the first half, and created a lot of chances. But Bayern's efficiency was super. We were lacking that efficiency, and you can only win if you score goals."
Berlin recovered from its 5-1 defeat at Bremen last weekend when Ukrainian striker Andrey Voronin
scored the only goal of the game against high-flying
Hoffenheim, ending the latter's five-game winning streak. "We played at maybe 70 percent of our capacity," said Hoffenheim coach Ralf Rangnick
"but I'm not going to be too harsh on my boys, they're not machines. I don't care about first place, I'm just annoyed that we lost three points."
Leverkusen meanwhile threw away the chance to go two points clear at the top when it gave up a 3-0 lead at Karslruhe. Goals from Patrick Helmes
, Stefan Kiessling
and Michal Kadlec
saw Bayer race ahead after just 24 minutes, but replies from
Antonio da Silva
before the interval (a deflected free kick), and Tim Sebastian
and Alexander Iashvili
allowed lowly Karlsruhe to snatch a point and break its run of five defeats on the trot. "My troops fought with passion," said proud Karlsruhe coach Edmund
, "and they were rewarded with the 3-3 result." Leverkusen's Bruno Labbadia
lauded Karlsruhe for "never giving up. Up until 0-3
we did everything right. But then we lost the tactical discipline that we needed. So for me sharing the points was just."
Hamburg kept in touch with the front-runners with a 2-1
home win over Borussia Dortmund on first-half goals from Mladen Petric
and Ivica Olic
, both getting their fourth of the
season. Dortmund's U.S. defender Neven Subotic
played through, and had a shot turned on to the crossbar by Hamburg keeper
Hamburg Coach Martin Jol
conceded that Dortmund was "clearly the better team in the second half," but declared himself
"content" with the final result. His counterpart Juergen Klopp
said that "for all we invested, the return was too low. We didn't play badly,
but lacked concentration at certain points."
Borussia Moenchengladbach moved out of the bottom three after a 2-0 road win at fellow strugglers Arminia Bielefeld, with young
German international Marko Marin
scoring twice. Hannover, for whom U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo
played through, lost
2-1 at Cologne and is one spot above Moenchengladbach in 13th.
Bremen played a rare 0-0 tie, away at Bochum, while revived Eintracht Frankfurt was held 2-2 at home by VfB Stuttgart --
scored a brace to put Frankfurt 2-0 up, but Stuttgart leveled late through headers from Martin Lanig
and Mario Gomez
, his sixth of the season. Bottom-placed Cottbus lost 3-0 at Wolfsburg on a hat-trick from Brazilian Grafite
, bringing his season's tally to eight. Goals scored:
25 in nine games (2.78 per game)