Bundesliga roundup: Leverkusen beat Hamburg to trim Bayern's lead
BERLIN (AFP) –
Bayer Leverkusen’s 3-0 win over Hamburg on Saturday trimmed Bayern Munich’s lead at the top of the Bundesliga table, but the Bavarian giants will still finish 2012 with a nine-point lead.
After Bayern were held 1-1 at home by Borussia Moenchengladbach on Friday, second-placed Leverkusen enjoyed a comfortable win over Hamburg with ex-Germany striker Stefan Kiessling and current German star Andre Schuerrle both netting.
Kiessling opened the scoring on 26 minutes when his close-range shot gave the Hamburg defence no chance and the hosts doubled their lead 10 minutes later when Schuerrle netted as the ball went in off the post.
Kiessling claimed his 12th goal in 17 games this season to make him the Bundesliga’s top scorer when he latched onto a clearance from Bayer goalkeeper Bernd Leno and drilled home his second on 66 minutes.
It strengthens his case for a recall to the Germany squad in 2013 having last played in the 2010 World Cup third-place play-off win over Uruguay.
“It shows how strong the team is, and says something of our mind-set, that we have reached second place with so many good performances,” said the 28-year-old Kiessling.
“But we have the winter break now and 17 tough games are still waiting for us.
“It has been a successful year for me, I am pleased that everything has worked. I hope I can take this form into next year.”
Leverkusen’s victory denied Bayern a Bundesliga record as they had been set to break Borussia Dortmund‘s 10-point lead at the halfway point of the season set in 2010.
With defending champions Dortmund at strugglers Hoffenheim on Sunday, Eintracht Frankfurt took the chance to claim third spot with a 2-0 win over ten-man Wolfsburg.
Frankfurt took the lead after only 12 minutes when captain Alexander Meier scored his 11th goal of the season.
Wolves were reduced to 10 men when Brazil midfielder Josue was shown a straight red on 16 minutes for going into a challenge on Canada’s Olivier Occean with his studs up.
Frankfurt took the chance to double their lead two minutes later when Japan midfielder Takashi Inui converted Stefan Aigner’s pass after the offside flag stayed down.
Mainz moved up to fifth after coming from behind to beat VfB Stuttgart 3-1 with midfielder Nicolai Mueller scoring their second-half goals before Colombia midfielder Elkin Soto grabbed the third in the 92nd minute.
Duesseldorf’s Denmark midfielder Ken Ilso drilled home an 83rd minute free-kick to seal Fortuna’s 2-1 win over Hanover 96.
Greuther Fuerth remain rooted to the bottom of the table after they drew 1-1 at Bavarian neighbours in a high-tension affair as both sides finished with 10 men.
Fuerth had Albania defender Mergim Mavraj sent off for a second yellow card on on 76 minutes, while French striker Giovanni Sio was dismissed on 85 minutes, four minutes after coming off the bench, for a dangerous tackle.
Champions League side Schalke 04, who have picked up just two points in their last five league matches, need a win at home to Freiburg on Saturday night to get back amongst the pack chasing Bayern.