Wolfsburg drop points, Werder Bremen win in Bundesliga
Berlin, April 20 (IANS): VFL Wolfsburg carved out a 1-1 draw against Schalke while Werder Bremen worsened Hamburg's position in the relegation battle in the 29th round of the Bundesliga.
Second-placed Wolfsburg suffered a setback in the title race as the "Wolves" were held to a 1-1 draw by fifth-placed Schalke on Sunday. Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne's equaliser avoided Wolfsburg's first home loss of the season, reports Xinhua.
After the 1-4 loss to Napoli in the Europa League, Wolfsburg lacked in penetration against well-positioned visitors from Schalke in the first half. The "Wolves" came close to open the scoring with two minutes into the second half when forward Ricardo Rodriguez rattled the bar.
However, it was the visitors who broke the deadlock against the run of the game when Leroy Sane finished a solo run, starting from Schalke's territory, to slot home from 13 meters into the left corner following a fast break at the 53rd minute.
With the 0-1 deficit, Wolfsburg piled on the pressure to avoid the first home defeat of the season. Yet, Schalke's goalkeeper denied a number of promising chances, driving the hosts to desperation.
Wolfsburg's Kevin De Bruyne finally restored parity with a well-placed effort into the bottom right at the 78th minute. The hosts pressed for the winner, but Schalke were able to run down the clock.
With the 1-1 draw, Wolfsburg lost ground on front-runners Bayern Munich, who lead the standings now with a 12-point advantage, whereas Schalke defend their fifth position against Augsburg due to their better goal difference.
Elsewhere, Werder Bremen wrapped up a neat 1-0 victory at 102nd Northern derby against Hamburg. Both sides staged a rough encounter with many fouls hence goal scoring opportunities remained rare occurrences. Only Hamburg's Zoltan Stieber and Bremen's Davie Selke came close from promising positions, yet both players were unable to break the deadlock.
However, Bremen snatched three points on home soil with great assistance of Hamburg's Valon Behrami, whose foul play inside the box resulted in a straight red card and penalty in the closing period.
Bremen's Franco di Santo stepped up and converted a penalty into the top left corner to make the game safe.
With the result, Bremen returned to winning ways after four winless games in a row meanwhile Hamburg extended their losing streak to five games. Bremen climbed from ninth to the seventh place whereas Hamburg remain in the last position of the standings with a four-point gap to safety.