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Sports

Bundesliga: Maxim breathes life back into Stuttgart, Kagawa scores in Dortmund win

Stuttgart picked up a long-awaited win at home against Frankfurt to make the relegation battle closer than it has been all season. Dortmund clung on to beat Hannover, with Reus once again in form, assisting two goals.

Stuttgart 3-1 Frankfurt

(Ginczek 63', 66', Maxim 79' - Seferovic 52')

Huub Stevens said earlier in the season that he wasn't the Messiah, but coming into this home game against Frankfurt, the Dutchman looked closer to the cross than ever this season. Stuttgart hadn't won in nine games and had been worthy losers throughout. Against Frankfurt, they certainly showed more fight than recently, but when things aren't going your way, it matters little how hard you try. A deflected cross from the left and Haris Seferovic converted inside the box. The home crowd shuffled in discontent. It was starting to look like the beginning of the end.

When such moments arrive though, Martin Harnik is exactly the type of gritty, hard-working character you want on the pitch. The Austrian returned from a two-game suspension and set up Daniel Ginczek to stomach the ball in from close range after the hour mark. It mattered little how it went in, but the manner in which it did was the perfect microcosm of Stuttgart's season. It has been stomach-churning.

And it didn't stop there. Ginczek added to his first ever goal for the club with his second three minutes later, lashing home after Alexandru Maxim delightfully chipped over Frankfurt's backline. Stuttgart had turned the game around, and perhaps Frankfurt were the perfect opponents for them - Thomas Schaaf's men have dropped 21 points from winning positions this season.

When Filip Kostic got to the byline and crossed for Maxim to make it three, the home crowd was in disbelief. Six home goals all season and they had just watched three go in under 20 minutes.

It was Steven's first home win since September 27th 2014 and while they stay bottom of the table, they are no longer rooted there. There are now just two points between 15th and Stuttgart. There's hope yet: Frankfurt probably won't even take heart from the fact their league games have yielded 101 goals this season - only Real Madrid's games have seen the same number in Europe's top five leagues.

Bundesliga Hannover gegen Dortmund

Aubameyang scored his 11th and 12th goals of the season

Hannover 2-3 Borussia Dortmund

(Stindl 31', 80' - Aubameyang 20', 60' Kagawa 57')

All seemed to be going to plan after Aubameyang scored the opener from a lovely disguised pass from Marco Reus, but the moment Hannover equalized, Dortmund turned back into the ghastly side that stumbled and hobbled towards the end of the first half of the season.

Hannover talisman Lars Stindl proved just how much of a loss he will be if he does indeed leave for the likes of Schalke or Leverkusen when he converted after former Dortmund man, Leo Bittencourt, broke through and squared to his captain. Moments later, Bittencourt blazed a glorious chance to put Hannover ahead with Neven Subotic well out of position.

Hannover were dominating. Tayfun Korkut, a man who hadn't won in nine, was on the verge of something special. Mats Hummels had to head off the line, and not for the first time this season, to deny Joselu.

Dortmund needed another spark and they got it from Bittencourt. Hannover's best player picked up two yellow cards and was sent off, Hannover collapsed and Dortmund scored two in three minutes to end the contest. Kagawa finished off a counterattack that saw Hannover's defense ball-watching and Reus assisting (again), before the Japanese star turned provider - deliciously curling home with the outside of the boot for Aubameyang.

Zieler and the post denied Reus the fourth and when Stindl curled in a gorgeous second, Dortmund got nervous all over again but held out for the three points.

Freiburg 2-0 Augsburg

(Schmid 71', Petersen 83')

Admir Mehmedi hadn't scored in 804 minutes before this one and with best player Vladimir Darida on the bench, Freiburg didn't look likely to beat Augsburg. Freiburg were the better team throughout though, and picked up three points thanks to sheer persistence. Tobias Werner had to clear off the line to deny Immanuel Höhn in the first half, before Mehmedi headed over with the goal drought clearly hanging over him.

Bundesliga Köln gegen Bremen

Junuzovic assisted his 11th goal of the season

The missed chances didn't haunt them though. Jonathan Schmid drilled a low shot past Marwin Hitz to score Freiburg's first goal in 405 minutes before substitutes Darida and Nils Petersen came off the bench to combine well for the second.

Cologne 1-1 Werder

(Lehmann 88' pen. - Selke 29')

With 18 set-piece goals this season, it was perhaps unsurprising to see Werder use the same means against Cologne. Davie Selkie squeezed an effort past Horn from a corner from Zlatko Junuzovic's 11th assist of the season and Werder seemed set to hold on for another narrow win. Matthias Lehmann's late penalty made sure Cologne's second-half rally ended with a reward, as well as keeping their points tally keeps ticking over.

Paderborn 0-0 Hoffenheim

Srdjan Lakic did start for Paderborn, despite some confusion over his eligibility after a computing error from the German FA about the length of his suspension. Not even he could decide an otherwise tepid affair though, that Paderborn didn't win because they couldn't beat Hoffenheim's Oliver Baumann. Ermin Bicakcic was sent off for Hoffenheim but even that couldn't give Andre Breitenreiter's men the edge they needed as they drop into second-bottom.