Bayern stretch league lead, Leverkusen leap into second | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 28.11.2012
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Bayern stretch league lead, Leverkusen leap into second

Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen have both capitalized on the trio of Tuesday upsets in the Bundesliga, winning away from home. Bayern secure the winter-break league lead early, Leverkusen leap into second place.

Bayern Munich have won the "Herbstmeisterschaft," the German term for the side leading the league at the half-way winter break, with three league matches left to spare.

The runaway league leaders might not have shone in Freiburg, but they secured a 2-0 victory to stretch their league lead to 10 points.

Thomas Müller opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 12th minute after Oliver Sorg was adjudged to have committed handball in the box.

Bayern almost looked to have another penalty moments later when Freiburg's Fallou Diagne pulled back Xherdan Shaqiri. Diagne received a straight red for the foul, but it had taken place just on the edge of the box.

The Bavarians struggled to make their one-man advantage tell during the game, though, with Freiburg putting up quite a fight in front of home support. Late in the second half, however, captain Philipp Lahm unleashed a delicious long, diagonal pass that substitute Anatoliy Tymoshchuk calmly finished on the break. The defensive midfielder's addition appeared an attempt from coach Jupp Heynckes to shut up shop, only for the Ukrainian to put the result beyond doubt at the attacking end.

Werder Bremen's Aleksandar Ignjowski (r) slides in to tackle Bayer Leverkusen's Andre Schürrle

Bremen fought hard throughout, but Leverkusen ultimately rolled them over

Franck Ribery squandered a golden late chance to add a third. He had what seemed like hours to take a shot on his own against Oliver Baumann in the Freiburg goal, yet he appeared to want days in which to take it.

On-fire Leverkusen jump to second

After would-be Bayern rivals Borussia Dortmund, Schalke and Frankfurt all dropped points on Tuesday, Bayer Leverkusen pounced on their chance to make up ground.

The game started slowly but evolved into the pick of the evening's action. Gonzalo Castro opened the scoring after half an hour, slotting in the rebound after a Daniel Carvajal shot that Bremen goalie Sebastian Miellitz could only parry.

Castro doubled Leverkusen's lead after the break, finishing low with his left after a slick set-up from Lars Bender.

Bremen pulled one back almost immediately when Bayern outcast Nils Petersen rose highest at the back post to head home a cross from Aaron Hunt.

The hosts' resurgence was short-lived, Simon Rolfes and then Jens Hegeler added to the Leverkusen tally. Leverkusen leap up to second in the table, 10 points adrift of Bayern, and have won five of their last six Bundesliga games.

Arango's lethal left bites Wolves

Borussia Mönchengladbach were not able to dominate their guests Wolfsburg, but did manage a 2-0 home win thanks in no small part to their left-winger Juan Arango.

Igor de Camargo pretends to polish the boot of Juan Arango, who was celebrating his goal for Borussia Mönchengladbach against Wolfsburg

Keep that brilliant boot shiny, Gladbach, it's one of your few weapons right now

The Venezuelan unleashed his sumptuous left peg not from a trademark free-kick on Wednesday, but instead with a running volley into the bottom corner on the counter attack. Diego Benaglio, who had a solid game in the Wolfsburg goal, might as well have been a spectator against Arango's opener on 11 minutes.

Defender Tony Jantschke doubled the Foals' advantage from a Havard Nordveit corner shortly before the interval, and Wolfsburg were unable to counter in the second half.

Stuttgart labor against lowly Augsburg

Stuttgart added three home points to their account, moving up to 11th in the table and ensuring that their opponents Augsburg remained rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga. The 2-1 margin of victory was surprisingly narrow though, and goalie Sven Ulreich had a busy night preserving the hosts' advantage.

Ibrahima Traore, arguably Stuttgart's best player on the night, scored the opening goal and set up Vedad Ibisevic for the fearsome header that ultimately decided the game.

Augsburg's star attacking midfielder Ja-Cheol Koo provided the highlight of the game moments before half-time, smashing in an equalizer from well outside the box with his left foot. At the time, Koo's strike tied the game at 1-1, but Ibisevic redressed the balance from Traore's corner with 20 minutes remaining. Augsburg attacked with verve against their heavily-fancied opponents, but often ran out of ideas in the final third of the pitch - high and hopeful passes towards striker Sascha Mölders often marked the end of promising Augsburg attacks.

Kiyotake shines against Hoffenheim

In the evening's later kick off, Nuremberg beat fellow strugglers Hoffenheim 4-2 on home soil, jumping up to 13th in the league and knocking Hoffenheim into 16th and the drop zone.

Hiroshi Kiyotake of Nuremberg goes past Koen Casteels, keeping goal for Hoffenheim.

Kiyotake danced past everyone only to have his wondergoal stopped on the line

Japanese dead ball specialist and dribbling diva Hiroshi Kiyotake showed off his full arsenal, hitting the net from a free-kick and with a curling edge-of-the-area shot that wrapped up the 4-2 scoreline in the dying moments. It was the goal Kiyotake did not score that stood out most, though. The 23-year-old charged past a flurry of defenders and then reserve Hoffenheim keeper Koen Casteels with a great run down the left channel, only to have his shot cleared off the goal line.

Per Nilsson and Sebastian Polter hit Nuremberg's other goals, while Sven Schipplock and Sejad Salihovic found the net for Hoffenheim to no avail.

Free-falling Hoffenheim have won just one of their last nine league games.