Dortmund and Bayern both failed to bring home wins Saturday, while Hanover moved up the table in match day 29 soccer action. That means Sunday's result could be all the more important for Leverkusen.
Dortmund tied against Hamburg on Saturday
League leaders Borussia Dortmund just pulled off a draw against Hamburg on Saturday when Jakub Blaszczkowski put away an equalizer in stoppage time for a 1-1 final score.
Ruud van Nistelrooy scored on a penalty kick late in the first half after teammate Mladen Petric was fouled by Mats Hummels and then Dortmund failed on three opportunities until the late volley by Blaszczkowski.
With five games left in the season, Dortmund is sitting on an eight point lead in the league.
Bad news Bayern
Defending champions Bayern Munich also drew 1-1 against Nuremberg. Midfielder Thomas Müller put Bayern ahead early in the match but Nuremberg striker Christian Eigler tied the game up at halftime. Bayern's Dutch winger Arjen Robben was sent off with a red card in the 93rd minute for insulting the referee.
"It is not the first time this season we have given away a 1-0 lead as we did today," Bayern coach Louis van Gaal said. "We brought their goal on ourselves, which is disappointing. Arjen Robben let himself go. He was a bit frustrated, but he's a professional and should control himself."
Hanover creeps up
More bad news for Bayern came as Hanover managed a win against Mainz with a score of 2-0. The victory moves Hanover to third in the league, while Bayern went down to fourth, no doubt adding to van Gaal's frustration.
Hanover's victory over Mainz moved the team up to third in the league
Didier Ya Konan scored a penalty for Hanover at the end of the first half, followed by Sergio Pinto's goal scored in the 59th minute, putting the side one point ahead of Bayern with 53, but still five behind number two, Leverkusen.
Freiburg defeated Hoffenheim 3-2 coming back from a 2-1 deficit despite being a man down after Pavel Krmas was sent off for a foul in the area. Their lead was established by Julian Schuster on a corner kick but Vedad Ibisevic managed to tie the game up with a penalty kick after the foul by Krmas.
Ryan Babel put Hoffenheim ahead just before halftime, but then Papiss Demba Cisse scored his 20th goal of the season to become the lead scorer for the league, and finally Heiko Butscher headed one in, clinching the win for Freiburg 12 minutes before the final whistle blew.
In Saturday’s other Bundesliga action, Wolfsburg came up short against Schalke with a 1-0 result thanks to Jose Manuel Jurado's 76th-minute goal. Sitting third from last, the 2009 champions would have to contest a relegation playoff if the season ended today.
Kaiserslautern meanwhile won 4-2 against VfB Stuttgart with two headers from Srdjan Lakic, putting Kaiserslautern out of immediate relegation danger, while Stuttgart remain perched within two points of the danger zone.
Sunday's match-up means Leverkusen could move within five points of league leaders Dortmund if they manage to beat St. Pauli.
Author: Stuart Tiffen (AFP, dpa)
Editor: David Levitz