Leverkusen go Top as Champions Slip up | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 30.08.2004
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Leverkusen go Top as Champions Slip up

Bayer Leverkusen's 4-1 thrashing of Bayern Munich proved to be more than just an impressive result. The victory, and Werder Bremen's loss at Wolfsburg, meant Leverkusen went top of the league.


Leverkusen's 14th match without loss moved them into pole position

Bayer Leverkusen had not beaten Bayern Munich for almost two years but changed that statistic in style after crushing Felix Magath's side 4-1 on Saturday to take top spot in the Bundesliga.

Bayer take over from German champions Werder Bremen who dropped to third after falling to a shock 2-1 home reverse against VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday.

Pre-match hype in Leverkusen surrounded the return of Brazilians Lucio, Ze Roberto and German international Michael Ballack, stars of Bayer's run to the 2002 Champions League final, but all three had a miserable afternoon as Bayern collapsed at the BayArena.

Two of Leverkusen's new stars, Brazilian Franca and Bulgarian international Dimitar Berbatov, stole the headlines with two goals apiece as Bayer stretched their unbeaten run to 14 matches and proved they are genuine title contenders. "The team played like I wanted it to today," said Bayer manager Klaus Augenthaler. "Franca and Berbatov were outstanding and I am delighted with their performances because they scored two goals apiece and tracked back too."

Ailton off in Schalke defeat

Aside from Lucio, Ailton was another Brazilian to have a bad day as he was sent off in Schalke 04's 2-0 loss against Hansa Rostock. Last season's top goalscorer has yet to open his account in the 2004/05 campaign and his indifferent season continued as he picked up a red card on the chime of half-time following a fracas with Koakim Persson and Uwe Mohrle.

Ailton left the Arena Auf Schalke straight after his dismissal and needed to be called back by Schalke 04 officials with the Brazilian required to take a random drugs test. He would have been deemed as having returned a positive result if he had not returned.

Ailton's former club Bremen needed just a point against Wolfsburg to retain top spot but came unstuck in a 2-1 reverse at the Weserstadion. "There was not enough movement," said coach Thomas Schaaf. "We applied pressure late on but it was too late."

Klose's first Bremen goal not enough

German international Thomas Brdaric opened the scoring in the 46th minute, the first league goal Bremen had conceded, before Pablo Thiam added a second after 53 minutes. Miroslav Klose scored his first Bundesliga goal in a Bremen shirt on 71 minutes but it was in vain.

Borussia Dortmund looked to be coasting to a home win against Hanover 96 courtesy of Czech Republic midfielder Tomas Rosicky's 29th minute strike. However, 19-year old Hanover defender Per Mertesacker had other ideas and grabbed a headed equalizer from a corner in the second minute of injury time to save the game for the visitors and record his first Bundesliga goal.

Arminia Bielefeld fell victim to Bochum's Senegalese striker Mamadou Diabang late strike in injury time after Bielefeld's Delron Buckley appeared to have secured a draw after canceling out Diabang's first with a strike in the 87th minute. Bochum played with 10 men for half an hour after Christoph Preuss was sent off for collecting two yellow cards but still managed to complete a dramatic away victory.

Kuranyi hat-trick moves Stuttgart into second

VfB Stuttgart occupy second place in the Bundesliga after defeating Kaiserslautern 3-2 with German international Kevin Kuranyi scoring a hat-trick to send Kaiserslautern to the bottom of the table. Former Germany striker Carsten Jancker and midfielder Jochen Seitz appeared to have done enough to earn Kaiserslautern a draw until Kuranyi's third in the 81st minute.

Borussia Mönchengladbach avoided an embarrassing defeat against Freiburg thanks to a narrowly angled goal from Mönchengladbach's Oliver Nueville late in the second half which ensured a draw after Freiburg took the lead through Roda Antar in the 28th minute.

Hertha Berlin recorded another 1-1 draw against FSV Mainz after going ahead through Fredi Bobic early in the second half. But a scrappy game ended in a draw when Jürgen Kramny scored from a free kick 10 minutes later, leaving the Berlin club still looking for their first win of the season.

Hamburg off the bottom with thrilling win

Hamburg coach Klaus Toppmoller was handed some breathing space with a thrilling 4-3 win over FC Nuremberg. Hamburg had been knocked out of the Intertoto Cup, humbled by SC Paderborn in the German Cup and lost their opening two fixtures of the Bundesliga campaign. However a late goal from German international Benjamin Lauth secured a first three points for Hamburg and moved the 1983 European champions off bottom spot.

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