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Draw at Karlsruhe denies Bayer top spot

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 8 Nov 2008

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Bayer Leverkusen squandered their chance to take over at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday as their 3-0 lead slipped to a 3-3 draw at Karlsruhe.

With both league leaders Hoffenheim and defending champions Bayern Munich playing on Sunday, Bayer missed out on their fifth straight league win while Karlsruhe finally broke a five-game losing streak to share the points.

“I must take my hat off to Karlsruhe – even after my team went 3-0 up, they refused to give up,” said Bayer coach Bruno Labbadia, whose side remain second.

“Everything was going well for us at that stage, but we didn't show enough tactical discipline and so in the end it was a fair result.”

And his opposite number at Karlsruhe, Edmund Becker, said his side had shown real passion to turn the game around.

“Recent results had put us in a very difficult situation,” he said.

“We knew what Bayer are capable of from their previous recent results, but at 3-0 down things were really hard for us.

“But the boys fought with a real passion and proved themselves.”

Bayer got off to a flying start as Germany squad members Patrick Helmes and Stefan Kiessling scored goals in the first 17 minutes before a direct free-kick from Michal Kadlec on 24 minutes stunned Karlsruhe to leave the hosts 3-0 down.

But midfielder Antonio da Silva put Karlsruhe back in the game with a goal just before the break and a header from defender Tim Sebastian on 60 minutes put the home team right back in contention.

With Karlsruhe fighting for every drop of possession, Georgia striker Alexander Iashvili hit the equaliser ten minutes from time to share the points.

Hamburg moved back up to third with a 2-1 win at home to Borussia Dortmund and having been hammered 3-0 in the Champions League in midweek by Panathinaikos, Werder Bremen drew 0-0 with strugglers VfL Bochum.

A hat-trick from Brazilian star Grafite including a first-half penalty gave Felix Magath-coached Wolfsburg a 3-0 win at home to bottom side Energie Cottbus which put Wolfsburg up to sixth in the table.

Mid-table Cologne enjoyed a 2-1 win over Hanover on Friday night, while on Sunday, fourth-placed Bayern Munich are at Schalke 04 and leaders Hoffenheim play Hertha Berlin at the Olympic Stadium.

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