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Sports

Leaders' Victories Keep it Tight at the Top

Week Six saw a number of the top teams make a break from the pack with wins for leaders Wolfsburg, second placed Stuttgart, champions Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich. Here is the run down of the weekend's action.

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Martin Stranzl's goal for Stuttgart kept the heat on leaders Wolfsburg

Wolfsburg's championship aspirations were given another boost on Saturday as the surprising league leaders recorded their fifth win in six games with a 2-1 victory over Kaiserslautern.

Wolfsburg's Bulgarian striker Martin Petrov opened the scoring for the home side from a free kick on 13 minutes but journeyman striker Carsten Jancker put Kaiserslautern level from close range with eight minutes remaining. Wolfsburg then rallied for one final hurrah and kept a grip on the top slot thanks to a last-minute goal from Argentine striker Diego Klimowicz.

One point behind Wolfsburg sit Stuttgart who stayed in second after a thrilling 3-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen. Leverkusen, who had looked to be the season's pace setters just a couple of weeks ago, were brushed aside by a dominant Stuttgart midfield which built first-half goals for defenders Philipp Lahm and Martin Stranzl and helped set up the move from which midfielder Silvio Meissner's late penalty was awarded. The previously free scoring Bayer players had no response and slip further off the pace into sixth.

Bayern gathering pace

Roy Makaay, Bayern München gegen Borussia Dortmund, 5. Spieltag

Roy does it again.

Bayern Munich continue their ominous creeping run up the table with another victory, this time a 3-1 win over SC Freiburg in the Olympic Stadium. Bayern moved up to fourth but again failed to show everything they are capable, relying once more on the outstanding Dutch striker Roy Makaay who scored one goal and set up another. But the home side found themselves one down within three minutes after Freiburg striker Wilfried Sanou exposed a dithering defense to score from just inside the box.

It took Bayern a quarter of an hour to build an equalizer and it came from a blunder within the Freiburg defense which left Makaay free to score. The Dutchman then set up midfielder Torsten Frings to give Bayern the lead against the run of play just before halftime. Playmaker Michael Ballack completed the victory with a header on 72 minutes.

Bremen thump Bochum

Fußball Bundesliga 04, Schalke 04 gegen Werder Bremen

The Klose show finished off Bochum.

Reigning champions Werder Bremen continue to ease themselves back into contention and Saturday's 4-1 win away at Bochum confirmed their intention not give up their title so easily after a run of indifferent results. A hat-trick in 19 minutes by substitute striker Miroslav Klose (photo) and close range effort from midfielder Tim Borowski enabled Bremen to hang onto third place while inflicting Bochum's first defeat of the season. Slovenia defender Aleksander Knavs equalized for the home side with a header in the 68th minute but Klose's introduction was to prove emphatic.

A brief respite for Schalke 04 came to a close when the Royal Blues visited Hanover 96 at the weekend. A run of bad results for Schalke looked to have been left behind but the 1-0 defeat courtesy of a goal from Clint Mathis on Saturday saw the coachless Gelsenkirchen team drop to 14th. Their first victory of the season helped lift Hanover off the bottom of the league.

Rostock rock bottom

Bundesliga 2003 Vereinslogos F.C. Hansa Rostock e.V.

Rostock are propping up the Bundesliga.

Hanover's victory meant that Hansa Rostock's 2-2 draw with Borussia Mönchengladbach was not enough to give the Northerners a lift and Hansa dropped to the foot of the league despite fighting back from two goals down. Antonio di Salvo's double may have saved a point but it was not enough to raise Rostock from the basement.

Oliver Neuville opened the scoring for the home side from inside the area in the 18th minute and doubled the advantage for Mönchengladbach from a penalty 12 minutes later. Di Salvo reduced the arrears from close range in the 52nd minute and equalized seven minutes later with a volley from inside the box.

Nuremburg and Arminia Bielefeld, two of the promoted sides, battled it out for three hard won points with Bielefeld the victors in a 2-1 away win. A header on 18 minutes from striker Fatmir Vata put the visitors ahead and Bielefeld increased their lead through midfielder Patrick Owomoyela on 64 minutes.

Bielefeld wins battle of promoted

Logo Arminia Bielefeld

Substitute Stefan Kiessling pulled one back for the home side with a header in the 76th minute but it was not enough for Nuremburg who have seen their early stable form desert them of late. Nuremburg drop to 10th while Bielefeld move up to 16th.

Bundesliga newcomers Mainz continued their strong start by sharing the points with Borussia Dortmund courtesy of striker Benjamin Auer, who equalized in the 56th minute before a club record 20,300 crowd in the 1-1 draw on Sunday. Jan Koller had opened the scoring on nine minutes for Dortmund. More squandered points mean that BVB now sit eight points off the pace in seventh while Mainz keep the leaders in sight, sitting two places ahead in fifth.

Toppmöller thanks Takahara

Klaus Toppmöller

Klaus Toppmöller.

Hamburg coach Klaus Toppmöller can thank a first Bundesliga double by Japan striker Naohiro Takahara for the three points on Sunday and may also like to offer his gratitude for keeping him in employment. Hamburg's dismal season to date looked to have consigned Toppmöller to the dole queue but the 2-1 win over Hertha Berlin may have saved his job.

Takahara headed the home side in front on three minutes before scoring the winner 10 minutes from time, lifting his team up to 13th place. Berlin midfielder Christian Müller had leveled in the 12th minute but it was all in vain. Berlin are fourth from bottom and are the only side without victory after six games.

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