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Bayern remains on Hertha's tail

CHAMPION Bayern Munich crushed Hanover 5-1 to climb back up to second place in the German Bundesliga on Saturday, four points behind leader Hertha Berlin.

Bayern fell behind to a Jiri Stajner strike but responded with three goals in 14 minutes to set up an emphatic win and offer coach Juergen Klinsmann some respite after a mid-week Cup exit at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen.

"We wanted this result," Klinsmann told Premiere Television. "We knew we had to put everything into this match and I am delighted that the players did exactly that. It is going to be a tight race to the finish."

Hertha striker Andriy Voronin scored a hat-trick to steer his team to a 3-1 win at Energie Cottbus after the host had taken an early lead. The Ukrainian, on loan from Liverpool, has now scored six goals in the last four games.

VfL Wolfsburg made it five wins in a row with a 1-0 victory against Karlsruhe to move level on points and goal difference with Bayern and newcomer Hoffenheim, which could only manage a 0-0 draw against Werder Bremen.

Hamburg also has 42 points after suffering a 1-4 reverse at Borussia Moenchengladbach, which lifted itself off bottom for the first time since late November.

With Franck Ribery, Luca Toni and captain Mark van Bommel all missing, Bayern was short of options but desperate to win after only one victory in its previous five league matches.

It was briefly shocked when Hanover went ahead after 15 minutes with Stajner's curling shot but was level five minutes later through Daniel van Buyten, who rose to head home a Bastian Schweinsteiger free kick.

Miroslav Klose made it 2-1 in the 25th with a another header following an identical Schweinsteiger free kick.

Hamit Altintop added a third nine minutes later and further headers from Lukas Podolski and Martin Demichelis wrapped up the win.


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