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Sports

Summit Breathing Space Scarce for Bayern

Instead of going three points clear at the top of the Bundesliga this weekend, Bayern Munich wake up Monday with the slenderest of leads. After defeat at Bielefeld, only goal difference seperates Bayern from Schalke 04.

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Oliver Kahn let in his first goals of 2005 as Bayern crashed to defeat

They may be the club at the summit of the Bundesliga at the moment but Bayern Munich are hanging onto that honor by the skin of their collective teeth after the Bavarian giants were gunned down in spectacular style by Arminia Bielefeld's South African international striker Delron Buckley on Sunday. With closest rivals Schalke 04 dispensing of VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday, the 3-1 defeat leaves Bayern on top on goal difference only.

Bayern could have opened up a three-point lead over second-place Schalke with victory but are now level on 41 points with the Royal Blues after two goals from Buckley and one from Massimilano Porcello.

Bielefeld had not won against Bayern for eight years but took advantage of a snow-covered pitch to record a historic win. After Porcello crashed a volley past Oliver Kahn in the 23rd minute, Bayern were on the ropes. Despite a spirited comeback, the league leaders were caught by a rapid counter-attack midway through the second half which was finished in style by Buckley's left boot as Munich chased parity.

Hope for Bayern came in the form of a sweetly struck free-kick by the Brazilian Lucio on 80 minutes but the day belonged to Buckley. It certainly wasn't Oli Kahn's as the Bielefeld striker compounded Munich's misery by slotting the ball through the Bayern keeper's to clinch the spoils.

Listing Schalke steady with win over Wolves

The shock defeat heaped the pressure on Felix Magath's side and added championship importance to Schalke's 3-0 defeat of Wolfsburg on Saturday. The Royal Blues steadied their listing ship at the weekend to end a run of bad form that had seen them win just one point from the last two games.

Gerald Asamoah

Gerald Asamoah

They could have been four goals to the good by the end of the first half in the Arena AufSchalke but had to settle for just one, from German international Gerald Asamoah, by the break.

An Ebbe Sand header and Mike Hanke's icing on the cake sent the Wolves crashing to their seventh defeat in eight games, a run which has seen their championship aspirations turn into nightmares of what could have been. As for Schalke, even Ailton missed penalty in the 50th minute couldn't dampen the spirits of a campaign which has so far been a reverse of the one suffered by their woeful opponents'.

Bremen out but not down

Werder Bremen manager Thomas Schaaf may have conceded that their championship defense is all but over but Saturday's 2-0 over Borussia Monchengladbach, and VfB Stuttgart's 2-1 reverse at SV Hamburg, saw his title holders move up to third.

21. Bundesligaspieltag: Werder Bremen gegen Borussia Mönchengladbach, Klose und Zidan

Bremen's strikers Mirolav Klose, left, and Mohamed Zidan.

An injury-ravaged Bremen were forced into fielding 18-year-old Aaron Hunt in the starting line-up but the teenager repaid the vote of confidence with the first goal. On his full Bundesliga debut Hunt popped up to score in the 29 minute. Substitute Mohammed Zidan added a second late on to calm the nerves at the Weserstadion and severely dent Gladbach coach Dick Advocaat's revolution.

Comical Stuttgart blow title in Hamburg

It looks increasingly like another season of "close but no cigar" for VfB Stuttgart. Another year of exciting soccer at the Gottlieb Daimler Stadium is ending like a damp squib and Saturday's defeat to Hamburg epitomized the South German club's lack of concentration and staying power.

Despite Imre Szabics putting VfB ahead on the quarter hour mark, comical defending helped Hamburg equalize through Sergei Barbarez two minutes later in front of their home crowd at the AOL Arena.

Matthias Sammer

VfB Stuttgart's coach Matthias Sammer was furious at his side's defensive blunders.

Stuttgart could not find the spark to reply and Belgian international Daniel van Buyten scored the winner for HSV on 54 minutes as Stuttgart manager Matthias Sammer was left cursing more defensive lapses. Stuttgart are now six points behind Bayern, having played one game more, and their title dream looks to be over.

Champions League contest hots up

That win remarkably brings Hamburg into European Champions League contention, not bad for a team rooted top the bottom for most of the early part of the season. They will have to fight Stuttgart, Bremen, Bayer Leverkusen and Hertha Berlin for the last qualifying spot. Just three points separates third-placed Bremen from sixth-placed SV Hamburg and Bayer Leverkusen, two points behind Hamburg

Hertha needed a last-gasp winner from Arthur Wichniarek to down FC Nuremberg 2-1 Saturday in the German capital. The win sees Berlin climb up to fourth as their revival under coach Falko Gotz continues.

Bayer Leverkusen's European hopes were given a boost with a 2-0 home triumph over Mainz 05 on Sunday. Mainz shut Leverkusen out for 64 minutes but German international Paul Freier showed neat footwork to break the deadlock. Five minutes later the points were sealed with Pole Jacek Krzynowek drilling home a left-footed shot.

BVB on the up, Elevators look grounded

Fußball Bundesliga Stars Borussia Dortmund Jan Koller

Borussia Dortmund's Jan Koller

Borussia Dortmund continue to put daylight between themselves and the relegation zone after a dismal season to date. The mini-revival rolled on against local rivals VfL Bochum on Saturday with Jan Koller's tenth goal of the campaign after 21 minutes enough to secure the points.

The 1-0 defeat could have put the final nail in the coffin for Bochum and with a good penalty claim denied and a goal disallowed, Peter Neururer's side look to have look of a team running out of luck.

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