Freiburg vs. Schalke 04  2 - 1

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Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund extend gap after Bayern loss

3 March 2012 21:17

Bayern Munich's hopes of winning the Bundesliga took a significant blow on Saturday after a 2-0 loss to Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern now trail league leaders Borussia Dortmund by seven points after the champions' 2-1 win over Mainz at home.

Earlier, more than 30,000 fans crammed into the BayArena for the visit of Bayern as Leverkusen won their third match in a row to continue their good form.

Stefan Kiessling broke the drought with just 11 minutes to play.

The forward stabbed home from close range after a terrific assist from Eren Derdiyok and the result was sealed on the stroke of full-time.

Gonzalo Castro broke free down the right and hit a well-weighted pass across the face of goal where Karim Bellarabi side-footed past Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to give Leverkusen a well-deserved victory.

At Signal-Iduna-Park, Jakub Blaszczykowski opened the scoring in the first half for Dortmund, who dominated the match for large portions, but they were made to work for the win after a host of missed chances.

Their profligacy came back to haunt them when Mohamed Zidan netted in the second period, but Shinji Kagawa struck the winner with 13 minutes remaining to put Dortmund in the box seat for back-to-back titles.

Schalke, who sit fourth, were upset 2-1 at lowly Freiburg.

Sebastian Freis and Daniel Caligiuri scored for the winners and despite Teemu Pukki's late strike for Schalke, it was not enough for them to get a point.

Zdravko Kuzmanovic scored a pair of penalties in Stuttgart's thumping 4-0 win at Hamburg while Jan Callsen-Bracker's 89th-minute equaliser saw Augsburg draw 2-2 at Hannover.

Australian Nikita Rukavytsya scored Hertha Berlin's first goal in six matches as they beat Werder Bremen 1-0 while Kaiserslautern and Wolfsburg played out a goalless draw in the day's other match.

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Bundesliga preview: Bayern to test Leverkusen mettle

2 March 2012 02:42

Bayer Leverkusen's Bundesliga resurgence will be tested when they tackle Bayern Munich on Saturday, while Borussia Dortmund host Mainz.

Leverkusen exceeded all expectations to finish second last season, securing qualification for the UEFA Champions League.

They have thus far failed to replicate that success this term, and sit fifth on the table, seven points outside the qualification places for Europe's elite club competition.

Part of Leverkusen's struggles can be attributed to the loss of coach Jupp Heynckes, who was lured away to Bayern, and will be on the away team's bench when he returns to the BayArena this weekend.

Under his replacement Robin Dutt, Leverkusen have managed two successive victories in their last two outings, beating Augsburg 2-1 at home and winning 2-0 away to Cologne.

Striker Stefan Keissling claims those positive results were nothing special, and the real examination of their credentials will arrive with the visit of Bayern.

"The wins against Augsburg and Cologne were pretty much obligatory given the standards expected of Bayer Leverkusen," Kiessling said.

"Now we're facing the make-or-break games and we aim to come out of them on a positive note. We all have to pull together to keep this mini-run going."

Bayern are second in the standings, four points behind leaders Dortmund.

They suffered a shock 1-0 loss away to Basel in the Champions League round-of-16 last week, and also failed to beat struggling Freiburg on February 18, before dispatching Schalke 2-0 last time out.

"I don't think the fact that they (Bayern) maybe haven't being playing so well lately will be important," Keissling said.

"They're always dangerous, and they will be on Saturday. We need to be on our game, and if we are, there could be something in it for us."

If Leverkusen can prevent Bayern from collecting all three points, Dortmund will have an opportunity to extend their advantage further when they host mid-table Mainz, unbeaten in five, at the Westfalenstadion.

In other matches on Saturday, bottom side Freiburg face a difficult assignment at home to fourth-placed Schalke.

Augsburg, precariously placed one point outside the relegation zone, could well struggle away to seventh-placed Hannover.

Hertha Berlin, who are third from bottom, will look for their first win under new coach Otto Rehhagel away to sixth-placed Werder Bremen.

Also, second-to-last Kaiserslautern play host to Wolfsburg, while Hamburg await the visit Stuttgart.

On Sunday, third-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach go to Nuremburg, who are 10th on the table following victories in their past two outings.

Later in the day, Hoffenheim are at home to Cologne in the final match of the round.

Bundesliga table

# Team MP D P
1 34 +55 81
2 34 +55 73
3 34 +30 64
4 34 +25 60
5 34 +8 54
6 34 +17 53
7 34 -4 48
8 34 -13 44
9 34 -9 42
10 34 -11 42
11 34 -6 41
12 34 -16 40
13 34 -4 39
14 34 -13 38
15 34 -22 36
16 34 -26 31
17 34 -36 30
18 34 -30 23