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Sports

All Change in Bundesliga Title Race

Week Four threw up some surprising results over the weekend as current high-flyers had their wings clipped and new faces staked their claims in a title race that, although barely a month old, is already wide open.

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Mönchengladbach's Marek Heinz scored first in the defeat of Bremen

Sitting pretty at the summit before this week's games, Bayer Leverkusen were happy to travel to Mainz with a 14 game unbeaten run and a glow still emanating around the team after the 4-1 demolition of Bayern Munich in Week Three. However, the top slot and the unbeaten run were relinquished on the road as Mainz pulled off a 2-0 victory over the early season pace setters.

Four days before the start of their Champions League campaign against Real Madrid, Leverkusen were chopped down, first by Niclas Weiland who put promoted Mainz in front from a swift counter-attack in the 65th minute before fellow striker Benjamin Auer doubled their lead with a superb shot from the edge of box three minutes later.

Another team warming up for Champions League action was Bayern Munich. Happily for the Bavarians, their visit to Maccabi Tel Aviv will come on the back of a victory courtesy of Dutch striker Roy Makaay, who raced into the box unchallenged to score on 26 minutes to score the only and deciding goal in the game with Arminia Bielefeld. Bayern, who climb five places to fifth, failed to shine but at least bounced back from the heavy defeat by Leverkusen in their previous league outing.

Dortmund miss out in Ruhr derby

Fußball Bundesliga, VfL Bochum gegen Borussia Dortmund

In the showpiece Ruhr Valley derby, Borussia Dortmund failed to beat Bochum in an eventful match because of an own goal by French defender Guy Demel in the 75th minute. Cameroon defender Raymond Kalla put Bochum ahead on 15 minutes when he headed home from close range but the visitors equalized three minutes into the second half courtesy of another headed goal, this time from giant Czech striker Jan Koller.

Dortmund goalkeeper Guillaume Warmuz then saved a penalty from Denmark striker Peter Madsen in the 56th minute. A header by Brazilian striker Ewerthon put Dortmund 2-1 up three minutes later and Dortmund looked to have secured victory before Demel's aberration made the final score 2-2.

One of the shocks of the weekend came at the Borussia Park where Mönchengladbach beat champions Werder Bremen 3-1 to hand out the title holders their second consecutive defeat just three days before a visit to Inter Milan in their first ever Champions League outing.

Champions defeated again

Czech forward Marek Heinz opened the scoring for the home side with a header from a corner on 11 minutes, an advantage which was then doubled by Oliver Neuville in the 53rd. Substitute striker Nelson Valdez restored hope for Werder in the 69th minute but Mönchengladbach held on for their first win of the season completed by substitute Vladimir Ivic in stoppage time.

Schalke 04's miserable season continued at Wolfsburg where the Royal Blues went down 3-0, courtesy of two goals from Bulgaria midfielder Marian Hristov and Argentine striker Diego Klimowicz. Hristov opened the scoring with a header from a free kick in the 30th minute and doubled the advantage in similar fashion 10 minutes later. Klimowicz rounded off the win on the stroke of full time. Wolfsburg's convincing victory lifted them up to second place, just one point off the lead.

Stuttgart take pole position

Fußball Bundesliga 04, VfB Stuttgart gegen SV Hamburg

Just ahead of them at the top of the league sits Stuttgart after a 2-0 victory over Hamburg, whose own mini revival came to an end and went back to heading in the opposite direction, sliding back to fourth from bottom. An early goal from midfielder Silvio Meissner and a late one by Hungary striker Imre Szabics were enough to secure the points and top slot in the Bundesliga.

Hertha Berlin had to be content with their fourth draw from as many games after a dull match with few highlights against Nuremburg in the other game played on Saturday.

Surprise package Freiburg extended their unbeaten run to four games by recovering from two goals down to share the points in the 2-2 draw with Hanover on Sunday. Two goals from Czech striker Jiri Stajner gave Hanover a 2-0 lead after just eight minutes but Freiburg responded after the break with goals from strikers Regis Dorn and Ellery Cairo.

Long haul north yields three points

Kaiserslautern jubelt

Kaiserslautern fans finally have something to cheer about.

In the other Sunday game, Kaiserslautern moved off the bottom and made coach Kurt Jara's position slightly more comfortable with their first victory of the season as they beat Hansa Rostock 2-3 in the northern Germany. The four-time champions led 3-0 after first-half goals from defender Thomas Drescher and midfielder Thomas Riedl and one after the interval by striker Halil Altintop.

Rostock, still waiting for their first home win, reduced the arrears with two late goals from Sweden striker Marcus Allback.

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