Bayern Strengthens Lead Atop Bundesliga | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 07.02.2005
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Bayern Strengthens Lead Atop Bundesliga

Munich won at home against Leverkusen, taking a step toward winning the German championship, and watched their closest competitors, Schalke and Stuttgart, struggle for draws in their attempts to move up the table.


A draw with the league's worst team left Schalke holding their heads

The Bavarians increased their lead to three points over Schalke, who tied the league's worst placed team, Hansa Rostock 2:2 after leading at the end of the first half. Stuttgart also wasn't able to convert a half-time lead to three points and drew 1:1 at home against Kaiserslautern.

Bayern expected better

Bayern's Roy Makaay converted a questionable penalty kick giving Munich a 1:0 lead going into the locker room after Jose Guerrero half fell and was half pulled to the ground in the first half's dying minutes.

Bayer Leverkusen can feel aggrieved by the spot-kick but in truth they were outclassed and must now wait another season to end their 16 year winless jinx in Munich.

Makay verwandelt Elfmeter

Munich's Roy Makaay, 2nd right, scores with a penalty shot against Leverkusen's goalkeeper Jörg Butt, right, during the match between FC Bayern Munich and Bayer 04 Leverkusen in Munich on Saturday

Leverkusen wasn't able to pick up its play in the match' s second half as Bayern extended its lead to 2:0, and its winning streak to nine games, with a goal from Guerrero. All Leverkusen keeper Jörg Butt could do was shake his head when the ball bounced off Guerrero's thigh and back into the net.

"We played lively, but it wasn't the great game I expected," said Bayern trainer Felix Magath, summing up the views of the 47,000 fans in the stadium.

Only a handful of scoring chances and five yellow cards, for Munich's Michael Ballack and Leverkusen's Robson Ponte, Juan Silveira dos Santos, Carsten Ramelow and Jens Nowtony, broke up what was otherwise a dull affair at the top of the Bundesliga table.

Rostock shocks Schalke

Ebbe Sand und Joakim Persson

Rostock player Joakim Persson and Schalke player Ebbe Sand, left, fight for the ball during Hansa Rostock-FC Schalke 04 match Saturday

Just one point behind Munich going into the game, second-placed Schalke looked like it would have an easy time against last-placed Hansa Rostock, but in the end needed to call on last season's golden boot winner Ailton to bring just one point home from northern Germany.

"There was a little luck in it for us," said Ailton. "The point was important to us."

Schalke's Ebbe Sand opened scoring in the 25th minute, but the 20,000 fans in Ostseestadio probably couldn't believe their eyes when the home team went ahead in the second half after goals from Rade Prica and Magnus Arvidsson. But Rostock made too many mistakes against Schalke and Ailton punished them in the third minute of penalty time and kept his team from falling too far behind in the championship race.

Sport Fußball Bundesliga VfB Stuttgart - 1. FC Kaiserslautern

Stuttgart's defense fails to block Marco Engelhardt's free kick

Stuttgart also had to make themselves happy with a draw against Kaiserslautern, although they enjoyed a 1:0 lead going into half time thanks to an early goal from German national team member Kevin Kuranyi. Even though they were playing a man down after Lucien Mettomo was sent off, an exceptional free kick from Marco Engelhardt in the 61st minute let the visitors take home a tie.

"We were leading 1:0 and had better numbers, it was our own fault," said Stuttgart captain Zvonimir Soldo of the tie.

Hanover's UEFA hopes dim

Hanover 96 played its fourth home game without a win Saturday in its 1:3 loss to Borussia Dortmund, which has not lost in the season's second half. Dortmund's Jan Koller gave the guests an early lead in the sixth minute. Lars Ricken scored the first of his two goals in the game. Hanover made it onto the scoreboard when Nebojsa Krupnikovic converted a penalty kick in the 72nd minute.

Hamburg, however, kept its European dream alive in a 3:1 win in Nuremberg. Japanese international Naohiro Takahara masterminded the victory with two goals and got some extra help from teammate Benjamin Lauth. It was Robert Vittek who took a little of the sting out of Nuremberg's loss by netting a goal for the home team in the 82nd minute. The win moved Hamburg up two places to 7th and Nuremberg down two to 13th.

Click below to read about Hertha's victory over Mainz and Sunday's games

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