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Sports

Top Teams Stay Tight

The Bundesliga looks to be splintering into private battles as the season draws to a close. Bayern Munich and Schalke 04 continue to fight for the title as the others vie for European spots, respectability or survival.

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Lucio starts the comeback which revives Bayern's title dream

Bayern Munich pulled off a 3-1 comeback victory over struggling Hansa Rostock at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday to keep things tight at the top of the Bundesliga.

After losing 1-0 to Schalke last weekend confidence was fragile in the Bayern camp and Rostock shocked the home fans in Munich by going in front after just 16 minutes. But Bayern showed real grit to equalise through Brazilian World Cup winner Lucio before Claudio Pizarro and Michael Ballack wrapped up the points.

"We conceded early on but came back well," said Ballack. "We know our squad is strong and we will just have to see what Schalke can do. There are lots of points still to play for this season."

Hansa defender Uwe Möhrle outjumped Lucio to divert a 16th-minute header past Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn to give Bayern a jolt. It was harsh on the hosts who had hit the crossbar through Dutch international Roy Makaay, a surprise starter after recovering from a thigh injury, after just seven minutes.

Lucio was furious at an uncharacteristic slip but amends for his error in the 41th minute with a clincal right-footed strike a forward would have been proud of.

The second half saw Bayern heap the pressure on Rostock and the visitors finally cracked on 65 minutes with Peruvian international Claudio Pizarro netting from an acute angle.

German captain Ballack capped off a fine week, in which his third son was born, with an 89th-minute penalty to clinch a vital three points. "We are back on track although the win was a touch fortunate," admitted Bayern manager Magath. "Rostock were very strong in the first half and did not let us get a foothold in the match. But they made mistakes and we punished them."

Champions fight for European spot

The battle for third place continues to hot up with VfB
Stuttgart in pole position after Sunday's 1-0 home win over SC Freiburg. Former German international Markus Babbel scored the only goal of the game after 20 minutes.

Bundesliga 26. Spieltag 1. FC Nürnberg gegen Werder Bremen

Bremen kept a fingertip on the third Champions League place with their 2-1 win against Nuremberg

German champions Werder Bremen lie one point behind Stuttgart in fourth following a 2-1 triumph at FC Nuremberg. Croatian international Ivan Klasnic ended a recent goal drought scoring twice (22, 45) to move Bremen on to 47 points. "We created enough chances to make the scoreline more flattering," explained Bremen chief Thomas Schaaf. "We will continue to aim as high as possible."

Hertha Berlin were another team to stay in the Champions League running courtesy of a 3-0 home win over Arminia Bielefeld. Hertha inch up to fifth after SV Hamburg lost 3-2 to Borussia Dortmund at the AOL-Arena.

Hamburg slip from Champions League contention

Bundesliga 26. Spieltag Hamburger SV gegen Borussia Dortmund

Hamburg threw away a 2-1 lead at home and a good chance to consolidate their European chances

Hamburg had not beaten Dortmund at home for eight years and the hoodoo continued as Brazilian Ewerthon netted an 87th minute winner for Dortmund. It was a costly reverse for Hamburg who slipped to seventh as all their rivals collected three points.

Bayer Leverkusen inflicted a 2-0 defeat on Kaiserslautern at the BayArena to move above Hamburg into sixth spot.

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