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Kiessling treble sends Leverkusen top

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 29 Nov 2009

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A superb hattrick from German international striker Stefan Kiessling sent unbeaten Leverkusen top of the Bundesliga on Sunday after blitzing hapless Stuttgart 4-0.

Stuttgart may be in the Champions League this season – but they are having a nightmare domestically and this loss left them second bottom with only Hertha Berlin below them after seven defeats in 14 games.

Jupp Heynckes’ Leverkusen are, in contrast, on a roll and moved on to 30 points, three clear of Werder Bremen, who had gone top Saturday after a 2-2 home draw with reigning champions Wolfsburg.

Kiessling took his league haul to a league best 12, volleying home the first on 22 minutes after ex-Liverpool defender Sami Hyypia headed on.

Swiss star Eren Derdiyok headed the second seven minutes before the break past veteran Stuttgart keeper Jens Lehmann. Toni Kroos could have added to the tally moments earlier but struck the post.

Stuttgart coach Markus Babbel was powerless to stem the tide as the rout continued with Kroos picking out Kiessling on the hour for the third.

Lehmann then dragged down the marauding Derdiyok in the box three minutes from time to allow Kiessling the chance to complete his treble from the penalty spot before taking the crowd’s ovation a minute from time as he gave way to Patrick Helmes, returning from injury.

Leverkusen are hoping to stay the course and finally lift the title after several near misses – most notably in 2002 when, with stars such as Michael Ballack in the side, they came second in the league as well as losing the Champions League final and the German Cup final.

Later Sunday, Louis Van Gaal’s Bayern Munich were looking to win at Hannover to end a run of three draws and join fourth-placed Hamburg on 24 points.

On Saturday, Werder Bremen had thanked a last-gasp equaliser from Per Mertesacker for their draw with Wolfsburg.

Bosnian sharpshooter Edin Dzeko had opened the scoring three minutes before the break for Wolfsburg, who began the game five points adrift of their rivals just outside the top five.

Portuguese star Hugo Almeida levelled on the hour but Dzeko’s second five minutes from time looked to have settled it for the visitors until Mertesacker struck in injury time with a header from a corner to preserve their 20-match unbeaten sequence.

“The equaliser shows that, in contrast to last season, we have the belief to eke out this kind of result,” said Mertesacker afterwards.

Schalke had hoped to take advantage of Werder’s slip with a win at struggling Borussia Moenchengladbach in the late game but instead went down to a 1-0 reverse courtesy of a goal from Marco Reus after just five minutes.

The loss was Schalke’s first on their travels since last May but Felix Magath’s side stay in touch on 25 points in third place.

Hamburg could only manage a disappointing 1-1 home draw with Mainz while Hoffenheim were unable to take advantage of that stalemate as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at home to Dortmund to stay fifth.

At the other end of the table, Hertha Berlin look a solid bet for the drop after a 3-1 home loss to Eintracht Frankfurt – their 11th defeat of the campaign – left the capital club seven points from safety.

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