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Bremen miss chance to close in on Leverkusen

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 6 Dec 2009

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Werder Bremen squandered the chance to close the gap behind Bundesliga leaders Leverkusen on Sunday when they were held to a goalless draw by relegation-candidates Cologne.

Leverkusen were also held to a goalless drew at Hanover 96 on Saturday, but Thomas Schaaf’s Bremen are still three points off the leaders after failing to crack a resolute Cologne defence.

The single point takes Cologne away from the relegation zone and leaves them 14th.

Germany striker Lukas Podolski created a few chances for his Cologne team-mates to attempt to finish without success while at the other end Bremen, missing the creativity of Mesut Oezil, failed to take their chances.

Both Bremen’s Portugal striker Hugo Almeida and Germany’s rising star Marko Marin went close either side of half-time, but failed to break the deadlock.

The result leaves Bremen second on 28 points – three behind Leverkusen – while Bayern Munich are up to third after a 2-1 win over Moenchengladbach on Friday, but Schalke will go third if they beat Hertha Berlin on Sunday night.

The German media reported on Sunday afternoon Stuttgart coach Markus Babbel had lost his job after just over a year in charge after his side drew 1-1 with Bochum on Saturday with the sacking expected to be confirmed Sunday evening.

Babbel was robbed of his first league win since September by a stunning goal from Bochum on Saturday which would have taken his side out of the bottom three.

Several thousand Stuttgart fans then gathered outside their Mercedes-Benz Arena after the game demanding Babbel’s resignation with their side third from bottom.

Several police officers were injured and a handful of arrests were made after angry scenes.

Stuttgart had earlier been denied their chance to escape the bottom three and grab only their third Bundesliga win of the season after Bochum’s Austria defender Christian Fuchs curled in a stunning late free-kick to equalise.

Stuttgart must beat Romania’s Unirea Urziceni at home on Wednesday to progress from Group G in the Champions League behind Sevilla.

Defending champions Wolfsburg needed a late goal to seal a 2-2 draw with Freiburg on Saturday as they prepare for Tuesday’s crunch home Champions League match against Manchester United, which they must win to progress.

On Saturday mid-table Frankfurt beat ten-man Mainz 05 2-0 thanks to a first-half strike from defender Maik Franz and a late goal by Alexander Meier.

Dortmund moved up to seventh in the Bundesliga table and did their goal difference tally the world of good when they hammered Nuremberg 4-0.

Hamburg were held to a goalless draw at home to Hoffenheim.

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