Werder Bremen clinch a much-needed win over St. Pauli thanks to hat trick hero turned villain Hugo Almeida. Meanwhile there is disappointment for Cologne, despite going in front at home to Wolfsburg.
It was certainly an eventful day for goal scorer Almeida
Werder Bremen's Hugo Almeida took the shine off a glittering performance when he was sent off after scoring a hat trick in his team's soccer clash with St Pauli.
The Portuguese striker opened the scoring after just 52 seconds, having received a defence-splitting pass which he slotted past St. Pauli keeper Thomas Kessler.
St. Pauli's Markus Thorandt followed Almeida off the pitch
Although St Pauli quickly responded, an unmarked Gerald Asamoah hit the bar for the visitors with a header just a minute later, but no equalizer came.
Bremen doubled their lead with a swift counter-attack on 20 minutes, when Marko Marin picked up the ball from a cleared St Pauli corner and gave it to Almeida, who emerged as the winner once again in a one-on-one with Kessler.
Bremen struck for the third time in the 64th minute as Said Hsejinovic played a low ball in to Almeida on the left hand side of the box. Almeida slotted the ball through Kessler's legs for his ninth goal of the season.
Frayed tempers, red cards
Glory turned to shame 10 minutes from time for Almeida as he elbowed St. Pauli central defender Carlos Zambrano, only to be shown the red card.
"I was being fouled throughout the game and I lost it at that moment," said Almeida, who now faces a ban. "That should not have happened and I would like to apologise to the team and the fans."
St Pauli were also reduced to 10 men in the last minute as Markus Thorandt was sent off for a robust tackle on Torsten Frings, and the final score was 3-0.
Novakovich, centre, opened the scoring in Cologne's game
The result gives Bremen their first win in eight matches in all competitions, following an on-the-pitch scoring drought of 450 minutes, and the victory will take some pressure off long-standing coach Thomas Schaaf.
Cologne's 'disappointing step in the right direction'
Also in Sunday's football action, Cologne were held to a 1-1draw at home by Wolfsburg and remain in the relegation zone.
Milivoje Novakovic scored for Cologne in the 51st minute, taking advantage after Wolfsburg goalkeeper Diego Benaglio was unable to keep a 35-metre free-kick from Portuguese midfielder Petit under control.
However, Wolfsburg substitute Cicero put the scores level spectacularly - four minutes after coming onto the pitch - with an overhead kick low into the corner in the 81st minute.
The draw sees Cologne move up to 16th place in the table on 12 points, while Wolfsburg remain 13th on 16 points.
"It was disappointing not to hold the lead, but it was definitely a step in the right direction," said Cologne coach Frank Schaefer.
Author: Richard Connor (dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Mark Hallam