Refereeing blunders cost Dortmund dearly | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 08.12.2012
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Refereeing blunders cost Dortmund dearly

Bayern extended their lead while tempers ran hot in Dortmund. The defending two-time Bundesliga champs were upset by Wolfsburg 3-2. Coach Jürgen Klopp's men were on the wrong end of a number of officiating decisions.

Having just finished first in a Champions League qualification group of death, Dortmund were massive favorites at home against Wolfsburg, a team with a huge and expansive squad at the bottom of the Bundesliga's value-for-money list.

Things initially went to plan. In minute six, Marco Reus curled in a free kick just outside the box. Wolves keeper Diego Benaglio was frozen on his line by striker Robert Lewandowski, who was a shade offside.

But any suspicions that referee Wolfgang Stark was favoring the defending champs were dispelled in minute 36. Marcel Schmelzer was red-carded for handling the ball on the goal line, although the ball clearly rebounded uncontrollably off his knee. To add insult to injury, Wolfsburg's offensive foray should have been whistled offside. Diego converted the resulting penalty.

And four minutes later, Naldo volleyed home a cross by Diego to put Wolfsburg ahead. An offside Simon Kjaer clearly influenced keeper Roman Weidenfeller. The halftime score was 2-1, with all three goals being disputed.

There were no arguments about goal number four. Kjaer pushed Lewandowski down in the area on the hour mark, and Jakub Blaszczykowski sent Benaglio the wrong way from the spot.

Twenty minutes from time, though, Bas Dost put the visitors back in front after being sent through by Diego. It was a fine pass, but a full strength Dortmund would probably not have given the Dutchman that much space.

After the match Jürgen Klopp was livid.

"I can accept the defeat but the way it happened was quite bizarre," the Dortmund coach said. "Schmelzer can't chop of his hand to avoid contact."

Stark, to his credit, admitted that the red card for Schmelzer was a "mistake," but that will be small consolation for the defending champs. The 3-2 loss dropped Dortmund a whopping 14 points behind Bayern.

Sleepy Schalke lose in Stuttgart

Stuttgart players celebrate

Stuttgart have now recovered from a slow season start

Things also began fast and furiously in Stuttgart. Less than 120 seconds had elapsed when Vedad Ibisevic put the hosts ahead of Schalke, catching the Royal Blues napping with a swift counterattack.

Ten minutes later Schalke equalized, after Jermaine Jones found little-used striker Ciprian Marica, formerly of Stuttgart, alone in front of goal.

Then in minute 38, Christian Fuchs tipped over a leaping Christian Gentner in the box. Ibisevic did the honors from the spot to restore Stuttgart's advantage.

And shortly after the restart, Stuttgart again caught Schalke snoozing on the break. Ibisevic completed his hat trick with no Schalke defender in sight.

Both teams picked up red cards and finished with 10 men, but the result was never in question. The win took Stuttgart into the top third of the table, level with Schalke on 25 points. Only a few weeks ago, Schalke were in second, but any dreams they may have had of a title challenge have now given way to cold, hard reality.

The loss increases the pressure on Schalke coach Huub Stevens on a day, when German newspaper Bild reported that Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel could be in line to replace him. Stevens is out of contract at the end of this season.

Bayern continue to roll

Thomas Müller celebrates penalty

Müller's penalty did the trick against lowly Augsburg

In Augsburg, the second-to-last-placed hosts held remarkably strong against table-toppers Bayern Munich for the first 40 minutes. But Bayern's pressure paid off and forced a handball in the box. Thomas Müller converted. A Mario Gomez strike just after the hour mark were all Munich needed to rack up three more points. The routine 2-0 win extended Bayern's lead in the table over idle Leverkusen to 11 points.

In Saturday's late match, after a first half devoid of highlights, Eintracht Frankfurt got on the board just after the restart. Alex Meier climbed high to meet a cross. But Bremen responded in minute 54, with Nils Petersen finishing a counter-attack.

But ten minutes later, Frankfurt decided the encounter in roughly 60 seconds. Pirmin Schwegler pulled the trigger from 68 meters and beat Bremen keeper Sebastian Mielitz. And a Bremen defensive mistake gifted Frankfurt a chance slotted home by Stefan Aigner. Takashi Inui added an insult-to-injury goal in the dying minutes.

The 4-1 win took Frankfurt up to fourth in the table ahead of Schalke and level on points with Dortmund.

Earlier Freiburg beat Greuther Fürth 1-0. Daniel Caligiuri slotted one home left-footed early on, and that was the difference between the hosts and the Bundesliga's worst team.

For their part, Nuremberg needed 25 minutes to open the scoring against Fortuna Düsseldorf. Markus Feulner threaded the needle, and Sebastian Polter tapped the ball in. Feulner then added a bit of insurance in the final minutes of his side's 2-0 win.

On Friday, Hoffenheim's struggles continued as the Southern German side went down meekly in Hamburg 2-0. That result ensures that the Hoff will spend the winter in the relegation zone with Augsburg and Fürth.

On Sunday, Mönchengladbach face Mainz, and Hanover lock horns with second-placed Leverkusen .