Berlin, Feb 2 (IANS) Second-placed Leverkusen recovered from three straight defeats, and Schalke overcame Wolfsburg to set course for a UEFA Champions League position, at the 19th round of Bundesliga.
Bayer Leverkusen wrapped up their first win after three consecutive losses, meanwhile Stuttgart suffered their third straight defeat, Xinhua reported Saturday.
The Bundesliga runner up came from behind to grab a last minute 2-1 win in front of 28,714 spectators on home soil, narrowing the gap to front-runner Bayern Munich to 10 points, for now.
Unlike expected it were the hosts from Stuttgart that opened the scoring at the 12th minute. Stuttgart’s Moritz Leitner utilised a clearance attempt by Leverkusen custodian Bernd Leno to curl the ball into the top left corner from 18 meters.
Leverkusen recovered from the setback in the 26th minute when Stefan Kiesling restored parity bringing his goal drought to an end by beating goalkeeper Sven Ulreich into the far post corner.
Stuttgart remained unimpressed and continued with attacks but for all that it were the “Werkself” that snatched a late victory through Eren Derdiyok, whose diving header made it 2-1 on the scoreboards with just six minutes left.
Thus, Stuttgart slipped from 12th to 13th place with 19 points whereas Leverkusen remain on 2nd place with 40 points.
Schalke approach a UEFA Champions League berth for next season as they beat 10-man Wolfsburg 2-1 in the race for Europe.
The “Royal Blues” ensured a bright start into the match as Felipe Santana accidentally deflected an effort by Kevin Boateng past Wolfsburg keeper Diego Benaglio in the 9th minute.
Schalke failed to add another goal in the first half, meanwhile Wolfsburg lacked in penetration. Things went from bad to worse for the “Wolves” at the second half when Daniel Caligiuri saw a straight red card for dissent at the 50th minute.
However, Wolfsburg refused to give up and punished Schalke’s poor chance conversion in the 65th minute when Maximilian Arnold exploited a rebound from close range to level the scores.
Schalke responded nine minutes before the final whistle through Kevin Boateng, whose low shot into the bottom left sealed three points for his side.
Jens Keller’s men climb from 5th to 4th position with 34 points while Wolfsburg stay on 6th place with 30 points.
Elsewhere, South Koreas international Park Joo-Ho and Koo Ja-Cheol helped Mainz to secure a 2-0 win over Freiburg.
Hannover’s Mame Biram Diouf donated a brace within eight minutes to ensure a 3-1 victory over Monchengladbach. It is the second straight loss for the “Foals” this season.
Augsburg extended their unbeaten streak to seven matches as they beat ten men Werder Bremen 3-1 following a comeback and, Hamburg slump deeper into the relegation battle as Hoffenheim inflict the “Rothosen” their fifth straight loss following a 3-0.
The following fixtures close the 19th round Sunday: Berlin host Nuremberg and German record champions Bayern Munich see Frankfurt.Published 02 Feb 2014, 11:45 IST