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Stuttgart escape relegation zone with much-needed victory over St. Pauli

Stuttgart exits the Bundesliga's relegation zone for the first time since November with a 2-1 win over St. Pauli. At the top of the table, Leverkusen took a bite out of Dortmund's lead.

Sven Schipplock celebrates with his teammates

Stuttgart jump for joy at leaving the relegation zone

Struggling Stuttgart were able to catch their breath on Sunday when they were able to exit the relegation zone with a win over St. Pauli. The 2-1 victory puts them 13th in the German league table with 28 points. St. Pauli are also on 28 points, but fall in 16th on goal difference.

Hosts St. Pauli were the better team and took the lead in the 19th minute with a goal from Timo Boll. Just five minutes later, however, Zdravko Kuzmanovic equalized for Stuttgart.

Just two minutes before the end of the match, substitute Sven Schipplock scored the winner for Stuttgart.

"Today we had a little bit of luck," said Stuttgart's coach, Bruno Labbadia. "I've got to compliment St. Pauli. They played a great game."

Cutting Dortmund's lead

At the other end of the league rankings, second-placed Bayer Leverkusen whittled a bit off Dortmund's lead at the top with a 1-0 win at Mainz. The runaway leaders had lost on Saturday night to Hoffenheim.

Renato Augusto scores for Leverkusen

Mainz's keeper had no chance against Augusto's powerful shot

Leverkusen and Mainz looked headed for a goalless draw when Bo Svensson lost the ball to Renato Augusto just eight minutes from the end of the game. Augusto advanced and then delivered a powerful curling shot past goalkeeper Christian Wetklo from 20 meters.

Leverkusen's keeper Rene Adler said the victory was important, but that the team wasn't focused on Dortmund.

"We are not looking in front to Dortmund," he said. "We are looking behind us, where we managed to put some distance between ourselves and some of the clubs that are challenging with us for a Champions League place."

Leverkusen now have 52 points while Dortmund have 61. Mainz are fifth with 43 points. There are eight games left in the season.

Author: Holly Fox (dpa, Reuters)

Editor: Sean Sinico

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