After a frustrating Champions League draw last week, Bayern Munich unleashed their offensive prowess against Frankfurt. Bremen kept pace with two early goals against Gladbach while Schalke keep their run going.
Two-man wrecking crew: Michael Ballack (r) and Pablo Guerrero
The expectations of the sellout crowd at Bayern Munich's Allianz Arena on Saturday were nothing less than a convincing victory after their beloved side only managed a 1-1 draw against AC Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Those expectations and more were fulfilled as Bayern dismantled a hard-fighting but outclassed team from Frankfurt 5-2.
69,000 fans watched an entertaining match that saw the home side go up after 21 minutes when Paolo Guerrero took a mishit ball from Frankfurt defender Alexander Vasoski and deposited the ball past goalkeeper Oka Nikolov. Ten minutes later, however, the visitors knotted the score on a beautiful banana kick from Christoph Preuss.
Germany midfielder Michael Ballack responded just 17 seconds later with the go-ahead goal and Guerrero found the net again before half. Ballack and Pizarro scored in the second half for the hosts while Alexander Meier's goal made the loss not look so bad.
"We still had a little bit of anger from Tuesday. The left without a doubt that they want to win the title as quickly as possible," was coach Felix Magath's assessment after the match.
Bremen win easily
Ivan Klasnic is heads above Kasey Keller for Bremen's 2-0 lead
Miroslav Klose was back on the pitch again for Werder Bremen in a Bundesliga match since injuring his shoulder in January. The international striker was back in form quickly against Mönchengladbach.
The head-strong Klose scored in just that matter in the 16th minute on a cross from playmaker Johan Micoud -- his league-leading 17th goal. Fellow striker Ivan Klasnic doubled the lead ten minutes later, a lead that was never threatened by harmless Gladbach.
The win leaves Bremen in second-place nine points back of Bayern.
Derbies in Carnival bastions top relegation battles
Coach Hanspeter Latour is still winless in Cologne
Last-place Cologne were hoping that they could warm up the Carnival atmosphere that will dominate in the next few days in their derby against cross-river rival Leverkusen. Yet after a disappointing 3-0 defeat, only the Rose Monday parade can lift the spirits of Cologne's supporters. Leverkusen's strikers, Dimitar Berbatov and Andriy Voronin, have been silent of late, but struck in the second half along with Jacek Krzynowek.
In another Carnival bastion, Mainz, the recent poor play of Jürgen Klopp's boys -- only one win in the second leg -- has led them into the deeper regions of the table. Kaiserslautern, only weeks ago written off as a certain second-division candidate for next season, have played inspired soccer of late.
Kaiserslautern's Boubacar Sanogo from Ivory Coast (r) beats his man and Mainz
That continued on Saturday on the back of Boubacar Sanogo. Like last week against Bielefeld, he scored twice and has single-handedly dragged the Red Devils out of the relegation zone, dispatching Mainz into that oh-so dangerous territory.
Schalke red hot
New coach, new luck. Mirko Slomka took over the reins from Ralf Rangnick in the winter break. Since then Schalke haven't lost. And the Royal Blues won again against ten man Nuremberg on goals by Kevin Kuranyi and Lincoln. All of sudden, Schalke are in the running for a possible Champions League spot, just two points back of Hamburg who have a game in hand.
Hanover's Per Mertesacker (l) and Wolfburg's Mike Hanke tug for possession
Hanover also have been enjoying the fruits of a coaching change, not losing since Peter Neururer was given the job in October. Wolfsburg ended that streak with a 2-1 win at home. Juan Carlos Menseguez scored the game-winner for the Wolves in the 85th minute.
In the final Saturday game, Bielefeld Rüdiger Kauf's first-half injury-time goal gave his side a 1-0 victory over Dortmund.