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Bremen Reign

DW staff / dpa (sms)January 29, 2007

Winter champions Werder Bremen moved back to the top of the table Sunday after a comfortable 3-0 win at home to struggling Hanover.

Bremen stayed out in front of the rest of the German league with a win on SundayImage: AP

Tim Borowski, Hugo Almeida and Per Mertesacker scored the goals that sunk the visitors as Werder moved back above Schalke 04 -- who won 3-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday -- on goal difference.

The big losers from the weekend's games were champions Bayern Munich who lost 3-2 at Borussia Dortmund on Friday and slipped to six points off the pace set by the top two.

Having scored a total of nine of goals in their last two clashes with Hanover, Werder were always likely to have a field day and did enough to start the second half of the campaign on top of the league.

Schalke coach Mirko Slomka paid tribute to Germany striker Kevin Kuranyi who hit the winning goal with 20 minutes left after Japan's Naohiro Takahara had cancelled out Gustavo Varela's early opener for the visitors.

Brazilian-born Kuranyi sealed the gloss on a fine win with a third in the final minute.

Bundesliga Fußball 18. Spieltag Eintracht Frankfurt gegen FC Schalke 04
Schalke came out top in a tough scrap in FrankfurtImage: AP

"In the second-half we reacted well after their equalizer and straight away we became aggressive and positive," said Slomka. "Kuranyi was incredible. He didn't just score two goals he also did a lot of work for the team."

SV Hamburg's miserable season continued as Marcio Borges's last minute equalizer denied them a much-needed victory at Arminia Bielefeld.

Desperate Hamburg no closer to answers

When Serbian forward Daniel Ljuboja scored in the 10th minute Hamburg, third last season, looked to be heading for only their second win of this miserable campaign that has seen them humiliated in the Champions League, beaten in their domestic cup competition and struggle all season long at the wrong end of the table.

HSV muss nach 0:0 um Champions League bangen
HSV somehow snatched a draw from the jaws of victoryImage: AP

The result means the pressure remains firmly on under-fire boss Thomas Doll. "It's disappointing after all the work done during the winter break," he said. "It hurts because we had chances to make it 2-0. We have to keep our self-belief, despite our position in the table."

Hamburg stay second bottom, level on points with bottom-placed Mainz 05.

Stuttgart title hopes in tatters after 4-1 thumping

It was also a bad day for fourth-placed VfB Stuttgart who slumped to a 4-1 trouncing at Nuremberg.

Ivan Saenko opened the scoring for the hosts before Brazilian Cacau equalized for the visitors.

Bundesliga Fußball 18. Spieltag 1. FC Nürnberg gegen VfB Stuttgart
It was no winter wonderland for VfB on SaturdayImage: AP

Five minutes into the second period Vratislav Gresko put Nuremberg back in front and when Stuttgart's Serdar Tasci was given his marching orders just before the hour mark, the writing was on the wall for the visitors, whose early season championship challenge is rapidly fading.

Markus Schroth added a third before substitute Ludovic Magnin's own goal completed a miserable day.

With 32 points from 18 games, Stuttgart slipped to seven points off Schalke with that defeat, and now face a challenge from behind.

Fifth-placed Hertha Berlin closed to within two points of Schalke with a 2-1 win over VfL Wolfsburg, courtesy of Marko Pantelic's penalty four minutes from time.

Hibernating Bayern caught sleeping

Bundesliga Fußball 18. Spieltag Borussia Dortmund gegen FC Bayern München
Bayern threw the game away against Dortmund FridayImage: AP

On Friday, Bayern Munich let a 2-1 lead slip. Dortmund took the lead after 12 minutes through Swiss striker Alexander Frei before Belgian Daniel Van Buyen leveled 13 minutes later.

Roy Makaay put Bayern ahead three minutes before the break but Frei grabbed his second in the 57th minute.

Brazilian Tinga hit the winner two minutes later to condemn Bayern to their fifth defeat of the season which leaves them six points adrift of top spot.

Bundesliga Archiv-Dossier Bild 3 Fußball VfL Bochum - Bayern München
Magath couldn't understand how Bayern lostImage: picture alliance /dpa

Bayern coach Felix Magath admitted he was mystified how his team managed to lose the game.

"I don't know what happened," he said. "Maybe we started the second half with too much confidence. But there are still 16 matches left to play in the championship."