Freiburg vs. Kaiserslautern  2 - 0

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Bundesliga wrap: Bayern cut gap to Dortmund, Moenchengladbach lose

24 March 2012 20:44

Bayern Munich closed the deficit on Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund to two points with a 2-1 win over Hannover on Saturday.

Toni Kroos and Mario Gomez struck for Jupp Heynckes' men at Allianz Arena, before Didier Ya Konan pulled a goal back for the visitors.

The win, Bayern's third straight in the league, saw them put the pressure on champions Borussia Dortmund, who visit Cologne on Sunday.

Bayern broke the deadlock in the 36th minute after Franck Ribery flicked a pass to Arjen Robben.

Dutchman Robben back-heeled to Kroos, who chipped over the advancing Ron-Robert Zieler to open the scoring.

The in-form Gomez got his goal on 68 minutes when he latched onto a Kroos pass, made space from Christian Pander, and tucked his finish inside the far post.

Hannover reacted positively following Bayern's second goal, and pulled one back within six minutes as Mame Biram Diouf nodded a cross towards substitute Ya Konan, who struck an overhead volley into the net, but Bayern held on for an important win.

Elsewhere, Borussia Moenchengladbach suffered a surprise 2-1 loss at home to Hoffenheim.

Marco Reus opened the scoring for the hosts in the 38th minute, but the game turned in Hoffenheim's favour in three second-half minutes.

Midfielder Roberto Firmino equalised before Boris Vukcevic struck a 79th-minute winner to see his side to the shock win.

In other matches, lowly Kaiserslautern's struggles continued as they slumped to a 2-0 loss at Freiburg, who had Karim Guede and Cedric Makiadi on the scoresheet.

Augsburg snatched a 1-1 draw at Werder Bremen thanks to Paul Verhaegh's 90th-minute equaliser, which came after Niclas Fuellkrug had opened the scoring.

Hertha Berlin took another step towards moving out of the relegation zone with a 3-1 win at Mainz.

A brace from Colombian striker Adrian Ramos and an Anis Ben-Hatira goal saw Hertha to the vital win, which lifted them to within a point of safety.

In the late kick-off, a brace by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar earned Schalke the points at home to Bayer Leverkusen and moved them to third place on 53 points, six behind leaders Borussia Dortmund.

Dutch striker Huntelaar struck in the 18th and 86 minutes, adding to his already impressive tally of 20 goals for the Champions League-chasing club.

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Bundesliga preview: Schalke sense Champions League berth

23 March 2012 23:14

Schalke can take a big step toward Champions League qualification if they defeat Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Coached by Dutchman Huub Stevens, Schalke came from a goal down to beat Kaiserslautern 4-1 away from home last Sunday.

A day earlier, fifth-placed Leverkusen went down 2-1 at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach.

The weekend's results left fourth-placed Schalke 10 points clear of Leverkusen, and with a firm grip on the final Champions League qualification berth.

Schalke welcome Leverkusen to the Veltins-Arena knowing a victory will increase their buffer to 13 points, with eight rounds of the Bundesliga season remaining.

"It's true," Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby said when asked about his team's favourable situation.

"As far as that (Champions League qualification) goes we're in a comfortable situation now. We're aiming to keep the pressure on the teams above us."

Much of Schalke's success is down to their deadly strike partnership of Spanish veteran Raul and Netherlands international Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

Holtby offered a glowing endorsement of 34-year-old former Real Madrid captain Raul.

"Raul's a role-model, simple as that," he said.

"I'm thankful to God that I can play on the same team as him."

And according to Stevens, former Milan and Real striker Huntelaar is among the best goal-poachers in the sport.

"He's in a class of his own inside the penalty box, for me he's the best in the world there," Stevens said.

Elsewhere this week, the round begins on Friday with mid-table Wolfsburg in action at home to Hamburg.

Bayern Munich, second in the table, will look to continue their recent goal glut with victory at home to Hannover on Saturday.

Third-place Moenchengladbach await the visit of Hoffenheim, while second-bottom Hertha Berlin travel to Mainz.

After Kaiserslautern's loss against Schalke cost coach Marco Kurz his job, assistant Oliver Schaefer and goalkeeping coach Gerry Ehrmann will take charge of the team's crucial relegation battle away to third-bottom Freiburg.

And sixth-placed Werder Bremen host Augsburg, who are just one point outside the bottom three.

On Sunday, Nuremburg travel to face Stuttgart in a mid-table clash, and defending champions Borussia Dortmund are on the road at Cologne.

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