Bayern rains on Dortmund′s early title parade | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 21.04.2012
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Bayern rains on Dortmund's early title parade

Borussia Dortmund fans hoping to start their celebration of their team's second straight Bundesliga title early were disappointed when Bayern Munich pulled out a last-second win against Bremen.

The champagne corks were ready to pop in Dortmund as the final minutes of Bayern Munich's match against Werder Bremen ticked away. The teams were tied heading into the final minute of regulation, and if the result held, Dortmund would have secured their second straight Bundesliga title.

But Bayern Munich - and specifically, Franck Ribery - spoiled Dortmund's early celebration. The Frenchman scored a goal in the 90st minute, meaning it will be up to Dortmund to decide their own fate by beating Mönchengladbach in Saturday's late match.

Two points in the next three games are all Dortmund need to wrap up the title, which is seen as nearly certain. At the start of the weekend, they had an eight point lead over Bayern.

Although Ribery sucked the wind out of a pre-game title celebration for Dortmund fans, Bremen's Brazilian defender Naldo shares some of the blame as well. He scored an own-goal in the 75th minute, bringing Bayern even at 1-1. Naldo also scored Bremen's only goal of the match off a corner kick in the 51st minute.

Kaiserslautern relegated

While Dortmund's Bundesliga title defense cannot yet be officially awarded, it is certain after Saturday that last-place Kaiserslautern will play in the second league next year, making them the first relegation victims of the season.

This was more or less already decided coming into their game against second-to-last Hertha Berlin on Saturday, but Kaiserslautern was determined not to go down without a fight.

They were the only team to score in the first half of Saturday's early games, heading into halftime with a 2-0 lead thanks to Oliver Kirch and Andrew Wooten's first goals of the season.

Despite Hertha getting one back in the second half, Kaiserslautern's lead held and they went on to win 2-1 - their first win since October. It was not enough to save them from relegation, however, as Cologne - third from last in the relegation playoff position - secured a 1-1 draw against Stuttgart. That puts them seven points ahead of Kaiserslautern, who have now lost any chance of climbing out of the basement. The loss leaves Hertha with 28 points, two behind Cologne.

Leverkusen's lucky Leno

Bayer Leverkusen secured an important three points in their battle for a spot in next year's Europa League with a 1-0 win over Hoffenheim.

Fußball Bundesliga TSG 1899 Hoffenheim - Bayer 04 Leverkusen 32. Spieltag

Schürrle, right, and Leno saved the day for Leverkusen

Andre Schürrle scored in the 79th minute to put the visitors ahead, but it was the heroics of Leverkusen's keeper, Bernd Leno, that preserved the victory.

Hoffenheim was awarded a penalty in the 84th minute when Vedran Corluka was whistled for a hand-ball in the area. Hoffenheim's Sejad Salihovic, who came into the game a perfect seven of seven in penalty kicks this season, took the kick, but Leno guessed correctly and made the save.

Leverkusen are in sixth place and would currently gain a spot in the Europa League qualification round, but are only two points behind Stuttgart, who hold the automatic Europa League spot in the table.

Mainz sticking around

The final match of the early games on Saturday was Nuremburg against Hamburg, which ended in a 1-1 tie.

Mainz and Wolfsburg played to a scoreless draw in Friday night's Bundesliga contest. The single point means Mainz have virtually guaranteed that they will avoid relegation and stay in the Bundesliga next season.

On Sunday, Augsburg - who are on the cusp of the drop zone - host a Schalke side trying to defend its spot in the Champions League from being taken by Mönchengladbach. Hanover 96, fighting for a Europa League spot as well, play at home against SC Freiburg.

Author: Matt Zuvela
Editor: Andrew Bowen