FC Schalke 04 lead the way in the Bundesliga thanks to a 2-0 win at title rivals Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Kevin Kuranyi registering twice to lift Felix Magath's men ahead of FC Bayern München, who suffered a 2-1 home reverse to VfB Stuttgart.
With third hosting second, both teams had the opportunity to go top in Leverkusen, yet the hosts never looked like recovering from Kuranyi's first-half double. The 28-year-old owed his opener to a deft finish after being found by a Benedikt Höwedes cross from the right on 11 minutes, and from the same channel Jefferson Farfán was able to locate the matchwinner's head 16 minutes later. Leverkusen now find themselves five points off the pace and with one win in their last six league outings.
Bayern lie two points off the top, meanwhile, having followed up their loss at Eintracht Frankfurt with their first home league defeat this season. Ivica Olić put Louis van Gaal's men ahead thanks to a predatory finish from Danijel Pranjić's cross just beyond the half-hour, but Christian Träsch levelled via a deflected effort close to half-time. Five minutes after the restart, Ciprian Marica then headed in to leave Bayern with plenty to consider before Tuesday's UEFA Champions League quarter-final opener against Manchester United FC.
In fourth, BV Borussia Dortmund could only draw 0-0 away against bottom club Hertha BSC Berlin, with the capital outfit now six points from safety after fourth-bottom 1. FC Nürnberg succumbed 4-2 at Werder Bremen. Per Mertesacker struck twice for Bremen, who ended the game with ten men following Tim Borowski's 82nd-minute dismissal.
One place off the foot of the table, Hannover 96 also experienced defeat, losing 4-1 at home against 1. FC Köln after contesting 45 minutes with reduced numbers in the wake of Hanno Balitsch's dismissal. In the day's other game, Edin Džeko plundered two goals as champions VfL Wolfsburg won 2-0 at 1. FSV Mainz 05.
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|Last updated: 03/07/2011 03:16 CET|