Leverkusen make up ground on Bayern

Berlin, Dec 16 (IANS) Leverkusen edged Hamburg 3-0 to reduce their gap on Bayern Munich to nine points while newly promoted Frankfurt shocked 10-man Wolfsburg 2-0 within six minutes at the 17th round of Bundesliga.

Second positioned Leverkusen reduced their gap to league leaders Bayern Munich to nine points Saturday following a comfortable 3-0 home win over Hamburg, reports Xinhua.

The hosts staged a bright start when Andre Schuerrle nearly opened the scoring as his effort only rattled the right post, with three minutes into the match.

Leverkusen kept things firmly in their hands and opened the scoring with 27 minutes into the match.

Andre Schuerrle's cross was flicked on by Gonzalo Castro to find Stefan Kiebling, who slotted home from inside the box.

Hamburg almost responded with the equaliser seconds later but the right post denied the header by Artjoms Rudnevs.

Instead, the "Werkself" added a second goal to their tally when Jens Hegler and Kiebling combined their way through Hamburg's defence to find Schuerrle, who hammered the ball into the top left corner eight minutes before the break.

After the interval, Leverkusen were not done with scoring. Kiebling wrapped up his brace when he lobbed the ball over Hamburg goalkeeper Rene Adler following a long goal kick by Bernd Leno.

Leverkusen sit on second place with 33 points while Hamburg dropped to the 10th position with 24 points.

Newly promoted Frankfurt preserve their stunning performances in the top flight as they regained third position in the standings with a 2-0 victory over 10-man Wolfsburg.

Frankfurt's Alexander Meier gave the visitors the lead when he headed home a cross at the second post with 12 minutes into the match.

Things went from bad to worse for the "Wolves" as Josue Anunciado de Oliveira was sent off with a straight red card after a rude foul play at the 17th minute.

Frankfurt exploited the numerical advantage as Takashi Inui doubled the lead after a fast break with 18 minutes played.

The "Wolves" never recovered from the 0-2 deficit as Frankfurt kept them busy over 90 minutes. Frankfurt move to third place with 30 points whereas Wolfsburg plump to 15th position.

Mainz upset Stuttgart 3-1 following a comeback and a brace by Nikolai Mueller.

After a goalless first half, Stuttgart's Martin Harnik shocked the hosts with three minutes into the second half when he headed home from sharp angle at the second post.

Mainz remained unfazed and responded in the 55th minute through Nikolai Mueller who levelled the score with a lucky shot from 18 metres.

Mainz were on a tear and able to take the lead for the first time when Mueller sealed his brace by header in the 71st minute.

In the dying minutes, Mainz's Elkin Soto sealed the deal when he hammered the ball into the roof of the net to make it 3-1.

The win hives Mainz on sixth position with 26 points while Stuttgart drop to ninth spot with 25 points.

Freiburg extended Schalke's winless run to six games when they came from behind to win 3-1.

The "Royal Blues" took the lead through Jefferson Farfan but their passiveness was punished by Freiburg that turned around, thanks to the brace by Jan Rosenthal and one goal by Jonathan Schmid.

Freiburg jumped to fifth position with 26 points while Schalke fell behind to seventh with 25.

Elsewhere, Greuther Fuerth and Augsburg shared points after a 1-1 draw and newly promoted Dusseldorf surprised Hannover 2-1.


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