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Sports

Leverkusen narrow gap on Dortmund

Bayer Leverkusen have edged a little close to Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund with a 2-0 win over Schalke. Meanwhile in the first game of a new era at Wolfsburg, the side shared the points with Stuttgart.

Eren Derdiyok, right, and Hanno Balitsch celebrate the first goal

Derdiyok, right, scored the first with a stunning strike

Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday moved within seven points of Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund with a win over Schalke.

Leverkusen's Eren Derdiyok opened the scoring with a spectacular strike on 19 minutes while former German international Christoph Metzelder headed Leverkusen's second into his own net in the 27th minute.

Leverkusen's Michael Ballack, center right, embraces keeper Rene Adler

Ballack, here embracing keeper Rene Adler, played for a full 90 minutes

Germany captain Michael Ballack, who has been plagued by injury this season, played the full 90 minutes for Leverkusen and was instrumental in the Derdiyok goal.

"Michael Ballack put in an encouraging display, he ran very strongly and looked good," said Leverkusen coach Jupp Hepp Heynckes.

With the final score 2-0, the resulting seven-point gap means that Leverkusen still have some hope of upsetting Dortmund's ambitions to clinch this season's title. Dortmund were held to a 1-1 draw by Mainz on Saturday.

A move back to Bayern?

Heynckes' contract with his team expires at the end of the season and the soccer rumor mill sees him set to return to Bayern Munich. Munich have, after a disappointing season, announced that current coach Luis van Gaal will leave at the end of the season and Heynckes has coached Bayern in the past.

Wolfsburg's Grafite shoots on goal

Grafite put Wolfsburg in the lead, and the side looked set to win for a long time

In other football on Sunday, Wolfburg drew 1-1 with Stuttgart. It was the first game for Wolfsburg under its new coach Felix Magath, who was sacked by Schalke on Wednesday. Wolfsburg went ahead with a goal from Brazil striker Grafite five minutes before half time. Stuttgart for long looked like the sure winners but defender Georg Niedermeier scored the equalizer four minutes into stoppage time.

The draw leaves Wolfsburg in the relegation zone, while 2007 Bundesliga champions Stuttgart are just above the bottom three in 15th place.

Author: Nicole Goebel (AP, dpa, AFP)
Editor: Richard Connor

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