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Leverkusen Scrape Draw; Bayern Buoyant Ahead of Lisbon Clash

Faltering Bayer Leverkusen failed to beat 10-man Bochum drawing 1-1 in the Bundesliga Sunday. Meanwhile, Bayern's return to form this weekend boosts them ahead of their next Champions League game against Sporting Lisbon.

Leverkusen players look disappointed after a bad result

Previously high-flying Leverkusen have crashed to earth of late

Patrick Helmes scored from the penalty spot in the 66th minute to rescue a point after Christoph Dabrowski had headed Bochum in front at Leverkusen's temporary home in Dusseldorf.

Bochum's Mergim Mavraj handled a cross from Michal Kadlec to give away the penalty, earning his second yellow card after being booked 10 minutes earlier for a foul on Stefan Kiessling.

Leverkusen coach Bruno Labbadia began with the team which defeated Bayern Munich 4-2 in the quarter-finals of the German Cup last Wednesday.

But lowly Bochum -- without an away win this season -- had looked comfortable until the penalty after taking the lead when Dabrowski headed in a Christian Fuchs free-kick in the 32nd minute.

Kiessling and Lukas Sinkiewicz missed first-half chances for Leverkusen and Brazilian defender Henrique twice went close to a second for the home side when he headed just wide from a corner and had two close-range efforts saved by keeper Daniel Marcio Fernandes.

"We didn't do enough in the first half but we had our chances in the second half. It was a point but it feels like a defeat," Sinkiewicz said.

"We had three clear goal chances in the first half and then found ourselves chasing the game after going behind," Leverkusen Sports Director Rudi Voeller said.

"We had some big chances and you just have to take them to force a win. We weren't cold-blooded enough. The players fought and gave everything but you simply have to take your chances."

High-flyers now languishing in seventh

Bochum's Christoph Dabrowski (l) puts his team ahead against Leverkusen

Bochum's Christoph Dabrowski (l) puts his team ahead against Leverkusen

The draw follows two league defeats for Leverkusen and leaves them seventh, nine points behind leaders Hertha Berlin and five adrift of fifth-placed SV Hamburg in the nearest UEFA Cup qualifying place.

Bochum are 14th, two points off the relegation zone and a point ahead of Arminia Bielefeld who played out a goalless draw with visiting Eintracht Frankfurt.

On Saturday, Hertha moved to 46 points, four points clear at the top of four teams with a 3-1 win at Energie Cottbus.

Hoffenheim, who drew 0-0 with Werder Bremen, and Bayern Munich, who thrashed Hanover 5-1, are joint second, with Wolfsburg fourth and Hamburg fifth.

Wolfsburg claimed a fifth successive league win by defeating Karlsruhe 1-0 while Hamburg slumped to a 4-1 defeat at struggling Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Bayern goal-fest ideal tonic for the blues

Munich's Lukas Podolski celebrates after he scored, during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Hanover 96

Lukas Podolski was among the scorers in the 5-1 win

Bayern's win was the ideal tonic after their German Cup defeat last week and with a seemingly comfortable home leg to negotiate against Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Tuesday, Munich's season looks far from over.

However, Munich coach Juergen Klinsmann insists his team's last 16 clash with the Portuguese is not a foregone conclusion despite the Germans' huge first-leg advantage.

Italian World Cup winner Luca Toni and French midfielder Franck Ribery both scored two goals in Lisbon two weeks ago as Bayern hammered their hosts 5-0 in the first leg.

Both Ribery, who is suffering with a shin complaint, and Toni, struggling with an Achilles problem, will be missing with injuries for the second leg at Munich's Allianz Arena.

Klinsi cautious ahead of Lisbon game

And while Lisbon face a virtually impossible task if they are to make the quarter-finals, Klinsmann insists his side will not sit back.

Bayern Munich coach Juergen Klinsmann

Klinsmann warns his team not to relax against Sporting

"It looks a formality on paper, but it's not. We can take nothing for granted," said the ex-Germany boss. "We need to take it seriously and mustn't be careless. That's something we can't afford."

With several top-name stars missing, Klinsmann is likely to use fringe members of his squad against the Portuguese.

"It's the kind of match where we can have a look at one or two players, but we won't overdo the rotation. I want to maintain the flow," he said.

Squad players such as Argentina forward Jose Ernesto Sosa, Brazilian defender Breno, defender Andreas Ottl and reserve goalkeeper Hans Joerg Butt look set to feature.

Sporting also warmed up for Tuesday's clash with a comfortable win at the weekend. They beat 12th-placed Pacos Ferreira 2-0 on Saturday courtesy of goals from Brazilian strikers Liedson and Derlei which keeps them in touch with the top of the Portuguese league as they remain four points off leaders Porto.

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