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Leverkusen go top as Wolfsburg recover bite

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 26 Sep 2009

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In an appetiser to an evening showdown between league-leaders Hamburg and Bayern Munich, reigning German champions Wolfsburg showed their star has not faded with a 4-2 win over Hanover on Saturday to leap back into contention.

Bayer Leverkusen, who famously just missed out on the league title, the Champions League and the German Cup in 2002, were also smiling after a 1-0 win at Cologne sent them provisionally top.

Simon Rolfes struck in the 82nd minute to underline the title credentials of a side coached by former Bayern chief Jupp Heynckes.

Unbeaten Leverkusen have 17 points from their seven games with Hamburg three points further back ahead of their Bayern test.

Had Bayern won and Leverkusen lost the Bavarians, on a roll with five straight wins in all competitions, could have gone top for the first time in some 500 days – an eternity for the four-times European champions.

Schalke, beaten twice in their opening half dozen outings, are third on 13 points after Peruvian forward Jefferson netted the only goal away to local rivals and former European champions Dortmund, the South American firing home a left-foot strike following good work by Halil Altintop before an 80,000 crowd.

Dortmund are now a lowly 15th with just a solitary league success to their name.

Wolfsburg’s win saw them move into joint fourth spot on 12 points, level with Werder Bremen and provisionally one clear of Bayern.

The surprise champions have blown hot and cold this campaign, suffering three defeats for as many wins, and had slid down into midtable ahead of next week’s Champions League confrontation with Manchester United.

But the Wolves roused themselves for a Lower Saxony local derby.

Brazilian striker Grafite, top scorer last season, had a quiet day but Zvjezdan Misimovic scored a fine free-kick to get the ball rolling and although Hano Balitsch equalised Christian Gentner fired the hosts back in front on the cusp of half-time.

Japanese star Makoto Hasebe made it 3-1 with a header three minutes after the restart but Alex Madlung put through his own net to allow Hanover back into it in the 50th minute.

Bosnian hitman Edin Dzeko finally made the points safe with a neat close-range finish on 62 minutes.

Elsewhere, Stuttgart ended a four-match winless run with a 3-0 triumph at Eintracht Frankfurt.

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