Bayern Munich came away again with a narrow victory, and thanks to a Bremen loss, are another step closer to dashing off with the title. Only Hamburg's win helps keep some semblance of excitement in the Bundesliga.
Hamburg's Benny Lauth (center) splits the defense in his team's win
Bayern Munich manager Felix Magath needn't worry so much about the scoring drought of his top striker Roy Makaay. Claudio Pizarro has taken up the slack more than enough of late. After single-handedly beating Bielefeld last week, he repeated his performance this week against an equally weak opponent (on paper) and scored twice in Bayern's 2-1 victory over Mainz at the Allianz Arena.
The Peruvian attacker, who has scored five times in the last three Bundesliga fixtures, has become a dependable source of goals for Munich since the injury to striker Roque Santa Cruz has given him a permanent starting slot. He put his side up in the 28th minute, but cheeky Mainz pulled back even in the 33rd minute. Pizarro ended Mainz' dream of being the first team to take a point from Munich at the Allianz Arena with a strike early in the second half.
Mainz goalie Dimo Wache held this shot from Claudio Pizarro but the Peruvian scored twice
"It was not a vintage performance and Mainz made us tremble until the final minute," admitted Magath. "We should have scored more goals in the first half and wrapped the game up."
Only one team in the league is equally potent up front as Bayern Munich: Werder Bermen. On Saturday, manager Thomas Schaaf was without the services of his two star strikers -- German international Miroslav Klose (14 goals) and Croatian attacker Ivan Klasnic (8 goals) -- and it hurt his side as the northern Germans lost 2-1 at Schalke.
"Despite the injuries, we played attacking soccer and stayed true to our style of play. But of course you can't replace Klose and Klasnic," was Schaaf's assessment. Bremen now lie eight points back of Munich.
Hamburg now in second
Hamburg pulled ahead of their northern rival Bremen by sneaking off with a 1-0 victory at Leverkusen. Just as it looked like the match would end in a scoreless draw, David Jarolim was in the right place at the right time and put home the gamewinner eight minutes from time. Manager Thomas Doll's side kept pace with Bayern and are six points back, but with each passing week, many are wondering who can put the brakes on the Munich express.
Dortmund's Tomas Rosicky (r) on a hard challenge against Nuremberg's Robert Vittek
One-time Bayern rival Borussia Dortmund kept up their good form by winning 2-1 at Nuremberg and spoiling the first home game for manager Hans Meyer. Dortmund were unchallenged most of the match. Speedster David Odonkor put them up in the 13th minute and just before half, 17-year old Nuri Sahin doubled the lead. Stefan Kiessling scored the consolation goal for the hosts two minutes from time.
Kaiserslautern falling fast
New Kaiserslautern manager Wolfgang Wolf was given a rude welcome at Hanover as the crisis in his club deepens after a 5-1 thrashing. Michael Tarnat and Thomas Brdaric were two-time goalscorers and Vahid Hashemian added one more for Hanover. Boubacar Sanogo found the net for the Red Devils from Kaiserslautern who haven't won since the third week.
Wolfsburg and Bielefeld treated some 14,000 fans to a mediocre affair that saw few real goal opportunities and the game rightfully ended 0-0.
The Duisburg-Cologne match was postponed due to heavy snow.
Draws on Sunday
Kovac, right, managed to save the game for Hertha by equalizing in the 76th minute
Hertha Berlin climbed one spot to fifth after drawing at home against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday. In the sixth minute, Brazilian forward Kahe made the first goal for Gladbach, followed by an own goal in the 12th minute by Hertha captain Friedrich. But in the 68th minute, Bastürck finally managed to put the ball in the net for the Berliners, and eight minutes later Kovac brought the score to 2-2 with a header.
VfB Stuttgart manager Trappatoni has some explaining to do after his players drew 1-1 against Eintracht Frankfurt. Amanatidis managed to put Frankfurt on top with a goal in the 19th minute, which lasted throughout the first half. Finally, in the 63rd minute, Stuttgart's Ljuboja succeeded in equalizing, for the team's ninth draw this season.