Hamburg, Bremen Slip up in Championship Race | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 03.02.2008
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Hamburg, Bremen Slip up in Championship Race

Title chasers Hamburg were held 1-1 by Hanover 96 on Saturday while Werder Bremen lost to Bochum on Sunday. But the big headlines were reserved for Frankfurt debutant Martin Fenin who scored a hat-trick to sink Berlin.

Aaron Hunt of Werder Bremen is crowded out by Bochum defenders

Bremen found themselves crowded out of the game by a disciplined Bochum team

Werder Bremen had defender Naldo sent off as they crashed to a 2-1 home defeat to lowly VfL Bochum Sunday, leaving Bayern Munich three points clear at the top of the German Bundesliga.

Meanwhile Kevin Kuranyi scored twice before watching Germany coach Joachim Löw as Schalke 04 downed ailing champions VfB Stuttgart 4-1.

Werder, who were eliminated from the German Cup against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, were shocked by Bochum who came from behind to earn their first-ever Bundesliga victory in Bremen.

Denmark midfielder Daniel Jensen struck a minute before half-time for the home side but Benjamin Auer leveled for Bochum in the 68th minute and Anthar Yahia headed the winner six minutes from time.

Brazilian Naldo was shown a red card for a professional foul two minutes after Auer's goal as a game Bremen had controlled slipped from their grip.

"It looked like we were in a position. We played quite well going forward and created chances but didn't finish it off and let the game out of our hands," Werder coach Thomas Schaaf said.

Schaaf had to juggle his team selection after injuries and other absences to key players but did not include midfielder Mesut Ozil, signed from Schalke on Thursday.

Bochum almost went in front when Naldo deflected a cross which keeper Tim Wiese managed to deflect onto the bar with his leg.

But after Diego was foiled by Jan Lastuvka in goal and Aaron Hunt shot wide, Jensen hit the net with a rising drive from just inside the area.

Bochum late show dents Bremen's title push

Bremen appeared well in control but Auer netted from close range after a cross from Japanese new signing Shinji Ono, who had come off the subs' bench a minute earlier.

Ono was again the provider with a corner headed in by Yahia to complete the misery for Bremen and move Bochum to 11th place, out of immediate relegation danger.

Bremen stay on 36 points, three points behind leaders Bayern Munich and three ahead of Bayer Leverkusen and SV Hamburg, with Schalke now fifth on 32 points.

Bayern, who earned a 2-1 win at Hansa Rostock Friday evening, now meet Bremen in Munich next Sunday, while Leverkusen entertain Hamburg on Saturday in next weekend's other big game.

Germany coach Löw saw Kuranyi in fine form in Gelsenkirchen against his former club Stuttgart as Schalke ran out 4-1 winners.

The striker, who has only just recovered from a lung infection, headed home powerfully from an Ivan Rakitic free-kick in the 32nd minute and then scrambled the ball home from close range in the 52nd.

Stuttgart got back in the game nine minutes later with a 30-metre free-kick from Antonia da Silva over the head of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer who was caught off his line.

But Schalke made sure when another Rakitic free-kick was headed in on 76 minutes by Heiko Westermann -- called up by Löw for the Germany squad for the first for Wednesday's friendly against Austria.

New signing Ze Roberto came off the substitutes' bench in the 90th minute to complete the scoring for Schalke in stoppage time.

Hamburg miss chance to close gap

In Hamburg, Szabolcs Huszti opened the scoring from the penalty spot late in the first half for mid-table Hanover before Olic salvaged a draw in the 70th minute for Hamburg, who have not beaten Hanover at home in five attempts.

Hamburg dropped from third to fourth place as Bayer Leverkusen got a 3-2 comeback victory at lowly Energie Cottbus to move ahead on goal difference.

Elsewhere, Czech starlet Martin Fenin had a sensational Bundesliga debut as the new signing scored a hat-trick in Eintracht Frankfurt's 3-0 triumph at Hertha Berlin.

Martin Fenin, left, celebrates his opening goal with his teammates during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between Hertha BSC Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt in Berlin

Fenin, left, celebrates the first of his three goals on his Bundesliga debut

Fenin, signed from Teplice in January for an estimated 3.5 million euros ($5.2 million), was an instant hit for Frankfurt, on target in the 39th, 60th and 90th minute against harmless Hertha.

"He won't be measured by goals but he can be really satisfied with his match today. But we are aware that he will have poorer showings as well," said Frankfurt coach Wolfgang Funkel of the 20-year-old talent.

Bayern Munich won 2-1 at Hansa Rostock on Friday night in the first match after the winter break to lead the way with 39 points. Werder Bremen have 36 ahead of a Sunday home game with VfL Bochum, Hamburg have 33, with Leverkusen and SC Karlsruhe on 31 apiece.

HSV mugged by smash-and-grab Hanover

Coming off an easy 3-0 cup win at lower-league Essen, in-form Hamburg were tipped to beat Hanover, but the visitors were sharper early on.

Huszti gave them a deserved lead on a 40th minute penalty, drilling the ball into the right corner after Guy Demel was ruled to brought down Christian Schulz.

Rafael van der Vaart

Rafael van der Vaart saw another chance go begging

Huszti hit the outside left post in the 54th before the hosts finally made it 1-1 from Olic, the Croatian striker tapping into the empty net after a first shot from captain Rafael van der Vaart was saved by goalkeeper Robert Enke.

Hanover had Sergio Pinto sent off in the final minute for kicking out at Nigel de Jong.

"We weren't convincing. We got off to a bad start but improved after the break. It's a pity we didn't get three points and had to be content with one points," said de Jong.

Plucky Leverkusen snatch victory at the death

There was more entertainment in Cottbus, where the hosts led after 14 minutes from a header by former Leverkusen player Michel Papadopoulos.

Simon Rolfes grabbed the equalizer in the 59th and substitute Dmitri Bulykin made it 2-1 for Leverkusen in the 68th.

Leverkusen players celebrate a goal

Leverkusen move up to third after Saturday's close win

Cottbus bounced back thanks to Christian Bassila in the 77th and had two goals disallowed for offside. But Leverkusen had the last laugh as Rolfes fired home an 86th-minute penalty for the winner.

MSV Duisburg remained last because they blew a 3-1 lead in a 3-3 deadlock with Borussia Dortmund, Diego Klimowicz salvaging the draw with his second goal of the day two minutes into stoppage time.

In the day's other games, SC Karlsruhe defeated 10-man Nuremberg 2-0 and VfL Wolfsburg prevailed 1-0 at Arminia Bielefeld.

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