Title chasers Bayer Leverkusen maintained their pursuit of league leaders Borussia Dortmund, coming back from behind with a 2-1 win over St. Pauli on Sunday. Elsewhere, Mönchengladbach demolished Cologne 5-1.
Kiessling, shown heading the ball, scored the vital equalizer
Bayer Leverkusen consolidated second place in the Bundesliga standings on Sunday with a 2-1 victory at home to cellar-dwellers St. Pauli. In other soccer action, struggling Borussia Mönchengladbach pulled off a surprise 5-1 win against Cologne.
All eyes were on Leverkusen as they continued their pursuit of league leaders Borussia Dortmund, who now sit only five points ahead with five rounds of games remaining.
Leverkusen claimed all three points after going a goal down midway through the second half when midfielder Charles Takyi finished off a move he had started, steering in a cross from Florian Bruns.
But the title contenders fought back and eight minutes later scored their opening goal thanks to Stefan Kiessling. Substitute Eren Derdiyok combined with Gonzalo Castro before pulling the ball back for the German striker to score easily.
Heynckes praised the passion that St. Pauli showed
Lars Bender snatched a 77th-minute winner for Leverkusen, to leave them with 61 points from 29 games. St. Pauli remain in 17th place and at serious risk of relegation.
"It is difficult to play against a team who have such a high morale and passion," Leverkusen manager Jupp Heynckes said after the match. "St. Pauli gave a good account of themselves. It would be a shame if they got relegated."
An unexpected rout
In 'Gladbach, the home team scored three goals in 10 minutes late in the first half to well and truly knock Cologne off their stride, and completed the rout with two more goals in two minutes after the break.
Juan Arango opened the scoring in the 29th minute and Marco Reus followed up with goals in the 34th and 39th. Milivoje Novakovic pulled a goal back for Cologne in the 50th, but Filip Daems converted a penalty in the 65th and Havard Nordtveit capitalized on some terrible defending to score the fifth in the 67th.
Despite the three points, 'Gladbach still sit bottom of the table on 26 points but within striking distance of St Pauli after their loss to Leverkusen. Cologne, meanwhile, stay in 11th place on 35 points, seven clear of the drop zone.
Author: Darren Mara (AP, Reuters)
Editor: Richard Connor