Related News

Home » Sports » Soccer

Wolfsburg takes 2-point lead into final round

WOLFSBURG routed Hannover 5-0 yesterday behind three goals from Edin Dzeko and two goals from Grafite to move within one point of winning its first Bundesliga title.

Wolfsburg takes a two-point lead into the final round over defending champion Bayern Munich and Stuttgart, who clash in Munich in one week's time.

But Wolfsburg has a far superior goal difference than either Bayern or Stuttgart and Felix Magath's team will make sure of the title with a draw at home against Werder Bremen.

Bayern began the day equal on points with Wolfsburg but only managed a 2-2 draw in Hoffenheim to fall behind.

Stuttgart, the 2007 champion, beat Energie Cottbus 2-0 to move past Hertha Berlin into third place and retain a shot at the championship. Hertha's 0-0 draw at home against Schalke dropped it out of the title race.

Bayern and Stuttgart must win and hope for Wolfsburg to lose to Bremen, which lost 3-1 at home yesterday to bottom-place Karlsruhe and will be returning from the UEFA Cup final. Wolfsburg can even afford to lose and still win the title if Bayern and Stuttgart play to a draw.

Going into the final round, Wolfsburg has 66 points, while Bayern is ahead of Stuttgart on goal difference with both teams on 64. Wolfsburg is seven goals better than Bayern.

"We knew that we were hot and that we can beat anyone on the road," said Magath, who is leaving at the end of the season for Schalke.

Hertha dropped to fourth at 63 points and Borussia Dortmund thrashed Arminia Bielefeld 6-0 to move past Hamburger SV into fifth place and now hopes to qualify for the Europa League next season. Hamburg lost 1-0 at home to Cologne.

In Hannover, the league most potent pair of strikers raised their combined total to 51 goals for the season to tear apart the hapless Hannover defense. Dzeko has 25 goals and Grafite 26, as they have combined to score more than two thirds of Wolfsburg's 75 goals.

Dzeko opened the scoring when he controlled a long pass with his chest and then volleyed the ball home from 17 meters (yards) in the 14th and Wolfsburg then cruised.

Dzeko played the ball back to Grafite with his heel for Wolfsburg's second goal in the 33rd and the Brazilian added the third three minutes later after another poor clearance attempt by Hannover's defense.

Dzeko scored his second with an unchallenged header off a cross from Bosnia teammate Zvjezdan Misimovic and the completed the victory with another header, this time off a cross from Yoshito Okubo.

"We made another step forward and it's all in own hands," Misimovic said. "We want late it slip away."

In Hoffenheim, Franck Ribery put Bayern ahead after 16 minutes. Lukas Podolski broke through on the right and goalkeeper Timo Hildebrandt palmed away his low cross, but Ribery knocked the rebound into the net.

Hoffenheim got back into the match five minutes later when Demba Ba's shot after a counterattack was deflected by Lucio and beat goalkeeper Hans-Joerg Butt.

Demba Ba also had a role in the second Hoffenheim goal, when he crossed from the left side. Wellington headed against the frame at the far post but Carlos Eduardo pounced on the rebound and slotted home.

Ribery set up his team's second goal with a neat dribble on the left then sending a perfect cross for Luca Toni to head home from close range in the 44th. Neither scored after the break, with Toni wasting the last chance of the match when he fired high from about four meters (yards) out.

Bayern dropped its first points in four games under interim coach Jupp Heynckes.

"We missed huge chances again," Bayern's manager Uli Hoeness said. "We still have a theoretical possibility to win the title, but we could also end up fourth."

Stuttgart started the game without striker Mario Gomez, who has 23 goals, because of thigh muscle injury.

But Thomas Hitzlsperger drove in a free kick from the right side that looked as if it were intended as a cross in the 19th.

Shao Jiayi turned around Stuttgart defender Khalid Boulahrouz and hit the crossbar for Cottbus' best chance. Stuttgart sealed the victory moments later, when Cacau used a pass from Gomez, who had come on after the break, to chip the ball inside the far post.

In Berlin, Marko Pantelic had a score for Hertha denied for offside in the first half and his team could not break down Schalke's defense to see its title hopes evaporate. Hertha has the worst goal difference of all top four teams.

Werder had its dress rehearsal for Wednesday's UEFA Cup final in Istanbul against Shakhtar Donetsk ruined by the bottom team. The win revived Karlsruhe's hopes of staying in the top flight.

Bielefeld has 28 points, Cottbus 27 and Karlsruhe 26. The bottom two are demoted and the 16th-place team has a two-leg playoff against the third-place team from the second division.

In other games yesterday, Bochum beat Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 and Bayer Leverkusen defeated Moenchengladbach 5-0.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend