It's getting very tight at the top of the Bundesliga with wins for Bayern Munich and Schalke 04 adding pressure on leaders Wolfsburg. Schalke went equal top on points but the Wolves have better goal difference.
Roy Makaay ended a barren spell with a goal in Bayern's 3-0 victory
Bayern Munich put their painful midweek European defeat to Juventus behind them with a 3-0 triumph over Hanover at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday.
The win moved Felix Magath's side to within one point of leaders VfL Wolfsburg who were crushed 4-0 by FC Nuremberg. The top of the table is now even tighter with Schalke 04 level on 24 points with Wolves in second while VfB Stuttgart are third ahead of Bayern on goal difference.
Hanover had won six Bundesliga matches in a row, plundering 15 goals in the process, but Bayern took no notice putting the visitors to the sword. "We have played better than that this season but were a lot more effective in front of goal than in our last game," declared Bayern manager Felix Magath.
Bayern scored after just three minutes through Claudio Pizarro. Dutch international Roy Makaay released the Peruvian who drilled a left-footed shot in from an acute angle.
In the 31st minute referee Lutz Frohlich then took centre stage handing a second booking to German international Michael Ballack for a foul he did not commit. After Bayern players rounded Frohlich the referee consulted his fourth official and Bastian Schweinsteiger, the real villain, was rightly awarded the yellow card in a bizarre incident. "Compliments to the referee," said Ballack. "That does not happen very often."
Bayern then showed their killer instinct - something that was missing against Juventus - with Makaay latching onto a pass from Mehmet Scholl to score in the 80th minute. Peruvian substitute Paulo Guerrero, 20, added a third late on.
Stuttgart bounce back in style
A goal rout could get Stuttgart back on track.
Bayern are in fourth level on points with Stuttgart who defeated Hansa Rostock 4-0 on Sunday. "Winning was the main thing and that is what we did," said Stuttgart manager Matthias Sammer. Stuttgart had lost their last three matches but moved back into the title battle with three points against the Bundesliga basement boys Hansa.
Schalke 04 manager Ralf Rangnick celebrated his sixth successive league win and equal top billing in the league with SV Hamburg falling 2-1 on Sunday. Hamburg led until the 79th minute before substitute Mike Hanke equalized and then Brazilian Lincoln produced a brilliant winner two minutes later.
The samba star ran a full 60 meters with the ball before slotting home. "I am in great form at the moment but then again so is the team," admitted Lincoln.
Bremen lose concentration and impetus
Angelos Charisteas (first left) gave Bremen the lead.
German champions Werder Bremen were left cursing a late concentration lapse in a 1-1 away draw at Hertha Berlin. Greece's Euro 2004 winner Angelos Charisteas had put Bremen ahead in the 80th minute but Werder could not hold onto that slender lead. Alexander Madlung headed in an equalizer in the dying moments with Bremen furious at the amount of added time.
"The game was almost over but it is in the hands of the referee and that cost us two points," raged Bremen chief Thomas Schaaf.
Wolves tamed by rampant Nuremberg
Wolfsburg lead the pack despite being on the wrong end of a 4-0 score line at FC Nuremberg. Trailing 1-0, the Wolves had Argentine international Andres D'Alessandro sent off in the eighth minute for a petulant foul. D'Alessandro plunged his arm into the back of Markus Schroth and picked up a red card for his immature conduct.
"The sending off was on the border line but we have to accept it," admitted Wolves coach Erik Gerets. Down to ten men Wolfsburg collapsed with Marek Mintal scoring a hat-trick.
Advocaat's debut ends in stalemate
New Mönchengladbach coach Dick Advocaat could not get off to a winning start.
Elsewhere Dutch manager Dick Advocaat failed to inspire Borussia Mönchengladbach to victory with his first match in charge ending in a 1-1 draw at Mainz 05. "I am satisfied with the point but we can certainly raise our game," said Advocaat.