Bayern Munich set a new consecutive win record by beating Hanover. The rest of league played unexciting soccer until the final 15 minutes, when a slew of goals got Bundesliga fans off their seats cheering.
There's no stopping the red shirts from Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich, already the top Bundesliga record-setters, added a new one to their tally on Saturday, when they won for the 14th consecutive time. As remarkable as the achievement is, the 1-0 victory against Hanover was unimpressive.
"You have to be able to make a distinction: We were successful but played beneath our abilities," Bayern coach Felix Magath commented. "It was difficult against Hanover today -- they played everybody in back. After the Champions League match, we just weren't fresh."
Martin Demichelis, replacing an injured Michael Ballack, scored the lone goal in the 10th minute. Felix Magath's side were then unable to crack a solid Hanover defense that, nevertheless, was ineffective against Munich's backline.
Down but not out: Bremen strikers Ivan Klasnic (l) und Miroslav Klose are disappointed in this photo but each scored against Dortmund
Munich's nearest challenger, Werder Bremen, won 3-2 in an exciting match against Borussia Dortmund that saw coach Thomas Schaaf's side overcome two goals by Dortmund's Ebi Smolarek. Midfielder Johan Micoud, coming under criticism of late for his uninspiring play, scored the gamewinner in the 78th minute. The club's striker duo, Ivan Klasnic and Miroslav Klose, found the net for their fifth and sixth goals respectively. Bremen now are the only team within striking distance of the high-flying Bavarians.
Hamburg stumble in last minute
Hamburg had been tied with Bremen for second place heading into the fifth matchday. Promoted side Frankfurt, with only two goals in the first four matches to their credit, traveled to Hamburg with little hope of coming away with any points. They came away with a draw.
South Korean Du-Ri Cha of Frankfurt (ctr) celebrates his last-minute equalizer against Hamburg
Du-Ri Cha put a dent in the title aspirations of coach Thomas Doll by scoring the equalizer in the 90th minute, making up for a lapse in the 85th minute that put Hamburg in the lead.
Although they are now four points behind first-place Bayern, Hamburg have not lost a game in 15 matches.
Another promoted team, FC Cologne, defeated their Rhineland rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach, 2-1. Lukas Podolski scored his second goal of the season in the 12th minute. It was followed strike by Björn Schlicke that put Cologne up 2-0 after 30 minutes. But then the fans had to suffer an hour as Gladbach, a feared opponent in Cologne, held off the hosts' attacks. Oliver Neuville converted a penalty kick in the 81st minute, but it wasn't enough.
Last year's first-leg super team, Wolfsburg, further disappointed their fans by only drawing against 17th-place Nuremberg, 1-1. Markus Schroth got the equalizer for Nuremberg in the 88th minute. The result was well-deserved result after Wolfsburg, who had gone ahead in the 16th minute, retreated into their own end late in the match to try and hold the lead, but the strategy failed.
"My team played a poor match. We begged for the equalizer in the second half. You could call it bad luck because it happened so late, but to me it was quite clear that we would not win playing like we did," commented Wolfsburg coach Holger Fach after the game.
Mainz still without a point
FC Cologne's Thomas Scherz wins the headball duel but didn't score
Last season's biggest surprise, Mainz, are now officially in crisis after losing 2-1 to Stuttgart at home. Coach Jürgen Klopp's side won games last year in the early part of the season because teams underestimated them. But that's not happening this season. The element of surprise has vanished and so has the offense, which has only scored two goals for their enthusiastic coach.
Stuttgart's Giovanni Trapattoni finally received his first victory as coach of the Swabian club, which should quiet his critics for the time being.
In the final Saturday match in the Bundesliga, Arminia Bielefeld and Kaiserslautern treated a sparse crowd of 16,500 to a dismal match, playing a 0-0 draw.