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Gomez scuppers Hamburg´s bid to go top

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 12 Apr 2009

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Hamburg were dealt a blow in their push for the German title on Sunday when an injury time goal from Mario Gomez earned VfB Stuttgart a 1-0 win over Martin Jol’s high flyers.

Hamburg had gone into the weekend as Bundesliga co-leaders, second only on goal difference to Vfl Wolfsburg.

But this defeat saw them drop back to third, with Wolfsburg now the outright leaders after their ninth successive win 24 hours earlier, their latest victims Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Bayern Munich, who bounced back from their twin disasters against Wolfsburg and Barcelona with a 4-0 drubbing of Eintract Frankfurt, are second, on 51 points, three off the top.

Hamburg, also with 51 points, are third on goal difference.

Sunday’s other game resulted in a 1-1 draw between Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen.

On Saturday Franck Ribery was the main architect of Bayern’s much needed pick-me-up.

The France international scored one of the goals and was instrumental in setting up another in a result that gave under-fire coach Jurgen Klinsmann some much needed breathing space from his critics.

Klinsmann’s job looked in jeopardy after last weekend’s 5-1 humbling by Wolfsburg followed three days later by the humiliating 4-0 drubbing dished out by Barcelona.

With their Champions League aspirations all but over Bayern had to win Saturday’s assignment to maintain their Bundesliga title challenge and they did the business to move into second, leaving Klinsmann to hail his men for showing character after their humiliation in Barcelona.

“That was a classy showing by the team after the debacle of Barcelona. We wanted to put things right again for our fans,” said Klinsmann, who promised his side would go down fighting if they do indeed exit Europe as expected on Tuesday.

“Everything wasn’t perfect and Frankfurt are not Barcelona,” Bayern captain Mark van Bommel reflected.

“The team has gone some way to redeeming itself but it still has a long way to make it up to our fans. The most important thing is for us to win the title again.”

Bayern took a third-minute lead when Luca Toni set up Ribery, who scored with an angled shot from the right from 20 metres for his seventh goal of the season.

Barely quarter of an hour later the former Marseille playmaker conjured up a pinpoint freekick with his left foot for Toni to volley in.

On 35 minutes Brazilian Lucio headed in from a corner for Bayern’s third with Bastian Schweinsteiger completing a satisfactory afternoon’s work three minutes after the break.

Wolfsburg largely failed to replicate last weekend’s stunning romp over Bayern but still had enough class to see off a Moenchengladbach side that are struggling to avoid the drop 2-1.

Wolfsburg’s Edin Dzeko put the Bundesliga leaders in front in the 21st minute only for the home side to level with 11 minutes left on the clock.

But Wolfsburg maintained their impressive run with Sascha Riether’s 85th minute match winner.

Elsewhere surprise early pacesetters Hoffenheim crashed 3-0 at Vfl Bochum after having two players sent off while Hertha Berlin were beaten 2-0 at Hanover 96.

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