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Wolfsburg on verge of title as Bayern drop points

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 16 May 2009

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Wolfsburg are on the cusp of winning a maiden Bundesliga title after a 5-0 rout of Hanover on Saturday put them two points clear of defending champions Bayern Munich, who slipped up at Hoffenheim

Wolfsburg, who have topped the table since April 4, are now two points clear of Bayern with just one game remaining and will be crowned champions if they beat Werder Bremen at home next Saturday.

“This was a step in the right direction for the Bundesliga,” said Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath, who will leave the club at the end of the season for Schalke 04.

“It is too early for speeches, but it is clear that we have made our life easier by winning.

“We now have a huge chance to bring the title to Wolfsburg.”

Wolfsburg’s 20th win of the season came largely courtesy of hot-shot strikers Edin Dzeko and Grafite, who between them racked up their 51st league goal against hopeless Hanover.

Having bagged 26 goals in 24 games as the league’s top scorer, Grafite struck twice in three first-half minutes after forward partner Dzeko had laid the foundations for his later hat-trick with an opener in the 14th minute.

Dzeko headed Wolfsburg’s fourth on 54 minutes and then completed his second hat-trick of the season in the 79th minute to take his tally to 25 goals for the season in 31 games.

Despite a goal apiece from French star Franck Ribery and Italian striker Luca Toni, Bayern had to settle for a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw with Hoffenheim.

In spite of the setback caretaker coach Jupp Heynckes, who will see Louis van Gaal replace him for next season as head coach, was mostly happy with his players’ contribution.

“The game was an advertisement for football,” said Heynckes.

“Both teams worked hard in attack and wanted to win.

“All in all I’m happy with the team’s efforts, apart from the 15 minutes in the first half when we conceded the goals.”

Both Stuttgart and Bayern are only two points behind Wolfsburg, and both can mathematically still win the title.

Cacau and Thomas Hitzlsperger scored either side of half-time for Stuttgart in their 2-0 win at Energie Cottbus, who stay in the bottom three.

Hertha Berlin’s 0-0 draw at home to Schalke 04 leaves them three points behind Wolfsburg and while the league title is beyond their grasp they are fourth and within reach of a Champions League place.

Borussia Dortmund are fifth and have kept their hopes of a place in Europe next season alive with a 6-0 slaughtering of Arminia Bielefeld, who occupy the dreaded 16th place which leads to a play-off for Bundesliga survival.

And Hamburg’s lacklustre defeat at home to Cologne leaves them outside the European places in sixth.

Bottom side Karlsruhe still have a fighting chance of avoiding the drop next Saturday after they stunned UEFA Cup finalists Werder Bremen 3-1 at home.

Bochum are almost safe after their 2-0 win at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Borussia Moenchengladbach stay just outside of the bottom three despite their 5-0 hammering at Bayer Leverkusen.

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