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Bayern Blow it

DW staff / DPA (nda)February 1, 2007

Defending champions Bayern Munich slipped to eight points off the Bundesliga lead after pacesetters Werder Bremen and Schalke 04 both recorded wins on Wednesday.

Bremen held off Leverkusen and put another nail in Bayern's coffinImage: AP

Following their embarrassing goalless draw to lowly Vfl Bochum 24 hours earlier Bayern sacked their manager Felix Magath on Wednesday and replaced him with Ottmar Hitzfeld.

Hamburg followed Bayern's lead by kicking Thomas Doll of the coaching bench on a day that saw more Bundesliga coaches polish their resumes than the entire winter break as Jupp Heynckes left Mönchengladbach.

Despite receiving Bayern's backhand, Magath's record might be good enough for a trip north to Hamburg. The Hamburger Morgenpost reported Thursday that Magath would take over at HSV. A team spokesman, however, said there was "nothing to report."

Back in Bavaria, Hitzfeld, who in his first spell as Bayern manager led them to four titles and the Champions League crown, takes over a team lying fourth and struggling to qualify for the Champions League next season.

Werder turned up the pressure on the 20-time champions with a 2-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen, with German international striker Miroslav Klose joining Serb Marko Pantelic at the top of the Bundesliga scoring charts with 11 goals.

Bundesliga Fußball 19. Spieltag FC Schalke 04 gegen Alemannia Aachen
Schalke squeaked past Aachen to stay tied for firstImage: AP

Schalke 04, in second also on 42 points, scraped through their home clash with Aachen 2-1.

In other action on Wednesday Vfb Stuttgart maintained third place with a 3-2 win over ninth-placed Arminia Bielfeld.

Hamburg are propping up the league after a disappointing 1-1 draw with Energie Cottbus, while Mainz beat Dortmund 1-0 and left the Bundesliga basement.

Bayern suffer long fall

Bayern players received an angry dressing-down from now former coach Felix Magath after the defeat in Dortmund. He warned his charges that anything less than victory against Bochum would spell the end of the title chances -- and probably guessed it would be the end of his own as well.

Bundesliga Archiv-Dossier Bild 3 Fußball VfL Bochum - Bayern München
Magath's enthusiasm wasn't enough to help Bayern -- or save his own jobImage: picture alliance /dpa

Bayern took to the field at the Allianz Arena seemingly toiling under the weight of those words, passing erratically and in accurately in the early exchanges. It took the Bavarians well over half an hour to find any kind of rhythm, with Bastian Schweinsteiger showing one of the rare pieces of skill in the first half to release Dutch midfielder Mark Van Bommel. But "Schweini" then had to watch the Dutchman rush his shot, which Bochum keeper Jaroslav Drobny saved easily.

Disgruntled fans display their anger

Bayern offered little threat against their relegation-threatened opponents in the second-half and were jeered off the pitch at the end, their fans obviously disgusted with the drab performance that saw the champions unable to break down a Bochum side who had been beaten 1-0 at home by bottom side Mainz on Saturday.

Oliver Kahn mit Fingerhandschuh
Oli Kahn shows the direction Bayern should be goingImage: AP

"We're very disappointed, obviously," Bayern goalkeeper and captain Oliver Kahn told Arena TV. "We have to realize we don't have a season ticket for first place. It all looks very bad at the moment."

Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge left the stadium saying he did not want to comment. "I'm saying nothing now. I have to sleep on it first," he said.

Stuttgart recover to claim third place

Meanwhile VfB Stuttgart, who had been beaten 4-1 at Nuremberg on Saturday, overtook Bayern with a 3-2 victory over Arminia Bielefeld to move third in the table on 35 points.

Striker Mario Gomez scored twice in front of the watching German national team coach Joachim Löw to boost his chances of a first full international team call-up.

Fußball-Bundesliga, 16. Spieltag, VfB Stuttgart - VfL Bochum
Mario Gomez has caught the eye of the national coachImage: AP

Gomez opened the Stuttgart account with a close-range header in the ninth minute and notched his second and Stuttgart's third in the 59th minute shortly after shooting over an open goal from two meters.

Strike partner Cacau, who had set up the first goal, was on target with a header from a free-kick by Pavel Pardo seven minutes after the break.

Christian Eigler had leveled for Bielefeld with a fine finish from the edge of the area in the 26th minute, and substitute Abdelaziz Ahanfouf converted from the penalty spot four minutes from time.

"We had messed up in our first game at the weekend so we had to show our fans we could play the second half of the season as we did the first," Gomez said. "We had good chances in both halves so I think the victory was deserved."

Mid-table teams held in stalemates

Elsewhere, Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw. Diego Fernando Klimowicz in the eighth minute and Mike Hanke with a header in the 73rd were on target for the Wolves either side of goals in the 63rd and 69th minutes from Michael Thurk and Alexander Meier.

In the other Tuesday night game, struggling Borussia Mönchengladbach and mid-table Nuremberg played out drab 0-0 draw.