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Bayer Leverkusen back to second behind Dortmund

Bayer Leverkusen have moved back into second place in the German Bundesliga, behind runaway leaders Dortmund after beating struggling side Stuttgart 4-2. In Sunday's other match, Mönchengladbach beat Schalke 2-1.

Stefan Kiessling celebrates with his teammates

Leverkusen's Stefan Reinartz (l.) scored with a header

Bayer Leverkusen regained second place on Sunday, after beating VfB Stuttgart 4-2. Leverkusen had temporarily lost second place to champions Bayern Munich, who secured a 3-1 win at Mainz on Saturday.

In Leverkusen, Stefan Kiessling gave the home side an early lead in the sixth minute, but Austrian international Martin Harnik equalized just ten minutes later. Stuttgart's hopes of winning points to move out of the relegation zone were dashed four minutes from the break, when Gonzalo Castro scored for Leverkusen.

Stuttgart levelled again in the 52nd minute, but Leverkusen scored another nine minutes from time, and Kiessling got their fourth in injury time to leave Stuttgart in serious trouble in 17th place.

Marco Reus celebrates

Marco Reus scored for bottom club Mönchengladbach

In Sunday's other game, Lucien Favre had the perfect start to his new position as coach for Borussia Mönchengladbach, when he took the struggling club to a 2-1 victory against Schalke 04.

The bottom-placed team, who gave away the lead in the last two matches, managed to turn things around after Peer Kluge gave Schalke an early lead. Marco Reus and Mohamadou Idrissou found the goals that gave the home side a needed win.


Dortmund leave St.Pauli helpless

Borussia Dortmund continued their march towards the title Saturday with a 2-0 victory against St. Pauli.

Paraguay international Lucas Barrios scored his 10th league goal of the season late in the first half, and an own goal from Ralph Gunesch just after the restart gave the hosts, who drew their two previous matches, a points total of 55.

"This was a well-deserved win because our discussions about converting our chances paid off," said Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp, who added that "the team remained concentrated and focused on their aim" throughout the match.

Dortmund's Lucas Barrios of Paraguay, in front, and St. Pauli's Ralph Gunesch challenge for the ball

Dortmund's Lucas Barrios scored his 10th league goal of the season

Dortmund started off with a bang, as Kevin Grosskreutz was denied by St. Pauli keeper Thomas Kessler and Nuri Sahin fired just wide from 16 meters (52 feet) in the opening minutes.

St. Pauli, who had won three games in a row going into the match, found themselves helpless against Dortmund's relentless attacks.

Kessler made several more saves but had no chance when Barrios turned up the heat six minutes before the break. Barrios picked up a deep cross from Sahin, turned in the box, laid the ball onto his left foot and fired in.

Dortmund gained another point in the 49th minute when the ball bounced in off rival player Gunesch's leg.

Dortmund defender Marcel Schmelzer said his side deserved their first victory at home this year.

"What makes us so strong is that all the players fight for each other, and that's why it is so difficult to beat us," he said.

Meanwhile, St Pauli players admitted that they had no chance against the Bundesliga leaders.

"We deserved to lose. They were much stronger than we were and we stood no chance," said Matthias Lehmann.

Mainz keeper Heinz Müller fails to block

Mainz failed to block visiting champions Bayern Munich

Gomez scores 18th goal

At Mainz meanwhile the league's top scorer Mario Gomez notched his 18th goal of the season to help bring home Bayern's sixth win in eight matches.

Mainz's Tunisia striker Sami Allagui scored a late consolation goal for the hosts, but could not stop Bayern, who were determined to seal their victory.

In Saturday's other Bundesliga matches, Hanover 96 beat Kaiserslautern 3-0 at home, thanks to a double from Jan Schlaudraff. The victors move up to third on 41 points, one behind Bayer Leverkusen, who host VfB Stuttgart on Sunday.

Hanover players hugging

Hanover reigned triumphant over Kaiserslautern at home

Hamburg kills Bremen

Paolo Guerrero struck twice as Hamburg SV clobbered Werder Bremen 4-0 in the northern derby, leaving their rivals without a win in five games and only a point off the relegation playoff spot.

Meanwhile, VfL Wolfsburg took their second defeat in a row under new coach Pierre Littbarski, letting slip a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 at Freiburg, two weeks after sacking coach Steve McClaren.

Freiburg's Senegal striker Papiss Demba Cisse netted his 16th league goal this season as he held off several defenders before kicking the ball home on 70 minutes to take a 2-1 win over Wolfsburg.

Meanwhile, Cologne drew 1-1 against Hoffenheim.

Author: David Levitz, Joanna Impey (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

Editor: Kyle James

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