Bayern back on top, Hamburg snap Dortmund′s streak | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 22.09.2012
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Bayern back on top, Hamburg snap Dortmund's streak

Two quick second-half goals give Bayern a 2-0 win over Schalke - and put them back at the top of the Bundesliga standings. Hamburg surprised the defending champions, snapping Dortmund's long-standing undefeated streak.

Bayern Munich returned to what they and their fans agree is their rightful place in the Bundesliga’s pecking order on Saturday, beating Schalke in Gelsenkirchen 2-0 to go top of the table, albeit only on goal difference.

The three points earned by Schalke dislodged newly promoted Eintracht Frankfurt, who had occupied top spot for less than 24 hours following their 2-1 win over Nuremberg on Friday evening.

Bayern were unable to penetrate the Schalke defense in a cautious first 45 minutes, as the two sides largely neutralized each others' attackers.

Yet, the team that has won more national titles than any other turned on the afterburners in the first 15 minutes of the second half to earn the victory.

The Bavarians got goals from young German national team stars Toni Kroos (55th minute) and Thomas Müller (58) to seize control of the match before the hour mark. After that, Bayern seemed to take their foot off the gas pedal, perhaps sensing that they had done enough to earn the three points. The home defeat saw Schalke slip to fifth in the standings.

Following the match, Müller said there was no big secret to Bayern's current strong run of form.

"We're trying to do our work in a concentrated and consistent way," Müller told the television broadcaster SKY. "All in all it's a result of the work we've done in training. So far it's working really well and of course we want to continue in this way."

Munich coach Jupp Heynckes said the "organization, circulation of the ball and finishing were good. You saw what a classy team Bayern is." At the same time though, he cautioned that there was a long way to go in the Bundesliga campaign.

"It's very gratifying to have a five-point gap (over Dortmund) but the championship is a 34-match marathon."

His opposite number, Huub Stevens was disappointed that his players' "heads went down" after Bayern's first goal. "Our fans don't deserve that," the Schalke coach said.

Hamburg score first win - over the defending champions

Surprisingly, what appeared to be the most lopsided matchup on paper turned out to be the most exciting.

Hamburg, who entered the fourth week of play in second-last place, looked to be facing a mission impossible as they lined up against defending champions Borussia Dortmund. However the last Bundesliga club never to have been relegated in the league's half-century existence got off to a perfect start, when South Korean international striker Son Heung-Min headed home a cross from Rafael van der Vaart to give them a 1-0 lead in just the second minute of play.

Neither team was able to convert for the next 43 minutes of play in Hamburg, but the second half started even more quickly than the first. Ivan Perisic, who had been given a rare start by Jürgen Klopp, rewarded the coach by striking a ball from the left corner of the box that sailed into the far corner just seconds after the restart. The Croatian looked as surprised as anybody in the park, indicating that his effort was actually an attempted cross that went so terribly right.

Hamburg, though, showed remarkable poise, as another Croatian, Ivo Ilicevic, took a pass and belted a lovely left-footed strike from the left of the box past Roman Weidenfeller in the Dortmund goal to make it 2-1 in the 55th minute.

Dortmund players were dismayed at their loss in Hamburg

Perisic's brace wasn't enough to avert defeat for Dortmund

This was followed by a quick pair of goals that saw Hamburg first go up by two, then Dortmund reduce the gap to one again. Son scored his second of the game by hitting a beautiful left-footed strike from the top of the box in the 69th minute. Not to be outdone, Perisic completed his brace less than a minute later.

That wrapped up the scoring in the match, but it was not due to a lack of chances, particularly in the dying minutes of play, when Dortmund pushed hard for the equalizer, but failed to beat Rene Adler for a third time.

In earning the win, Hamburg happened to defend a Bundesliga record that they have held for almost three decades. This was Dortmund's first loss after going undefeated for 31 consecutive games. Hamburg still holds the record - 36 games without a defeat - set over two seasons in the early 1980s.

Mainz with a comfortable win

In Mainz, the home side earned a 2-0 win against newly promoted Augsburg after taking a somewhat fortunate lead in the 10th minute. An attempted clearance by an Augsburg defender bounced straight off the right knee of Andreas Ivanschitz and into the goal to make it 1-0. Hungarian international Adam Szalai found the back of the net with a close-range strike 15 minutes later for a final score of 2-0.

In the northern state of Lower Saxony, Bundesliga first-timers Greuer Fürth shocked coach Felix Magath's pricey Wolfsburg side by taking the lead in the 27th minute. Emanuel Pogatetz was charged with an own goal after losing a physical battle against the Fürth striker as the two entered the 16-yard box. Neither Pogatetz, who had the ball go into the net off his shoulder, nor goalkeeper Diego Benaglio looked particularly good on the play.

Ivica Olic

Olic gave Magath hope

Former Bayern striker Ivica Olic, though, gave Magath and his Wolves hope, pulling them level before the break, heading in a rebound from within the six-yard box in the 42nd minute. Fürth, however, kept Wolfsburg off the scoreboard for the rest of the match and will be satisfied to take home the single point.

Saturday's other match was largely uneventful as newly promoted Fortuna Düsseldorf played to a scoreless draw against visiting Freiburg.

Three matches wrap up the week's play on Sunday, with cellar dwellers Hoffenheim looking to earn their first point against third-place Hanover. Elsewhere, Borussia Mönchengladbach travel to Leverkusen and Stuttgart will be looking for their first win of the season when they visit Werder Bremen.

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