FC Bayern München made up ground on the 1. Bundesliga leaders with a win on Saturday after Bayer 04 Leverkusen could only draw at Freiburg.
Three in three for Bayern
Bayern won their third game in a row at VfB Stuttgart to put their mid-season blues behind them and continue their challenge to defend their German title. Roque Santa Cruz scored his second goal of the week after finding Bayern's winner in the UEFA Champions League game with Boavista FC on Tuesday, to give the visitors a 32nd-minute lead, and Mehmet Scholl scored again for the champions six minutes later to complete a convincing win.
Leverkusen held at Freiburg
The 2-0 win has enabled Bayern to gain two points on top-of-the-table Leverkusen who secured a 2-2 draw away at SC Freiburg. After losing 4-1 to Arsenal FC in the Champions League on Wednesday, it was very nearly two defeats in a row for Klaus Topmöller's side as goals from Adel Sellimi and Vladimir But gave the hosts as 2-0, 52nd-minute lead, but Zé Roberto and Michael Ballack struck to level the scores by full time.
Schalke fall behind
There was even worse news for FC Schalke 04 whose title hopes took a major knock as they were beaten 2-0 away at FC Energie Cottbus. Playmaker Vasile Miriuta gave the home side a 1-0 lead in the first-half at the Freundschaft stadium and Radoslaw Kaluzny added a second at the death to leave last season's runners-up five points adrift of Leverkusen.
No joy for Bremen
Elsewhere VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach earned a 1-0 win in a close fought game with SV Werder Bremen. Peter van Houdt scored the only goal of the game after 36 minutes, heading home a Lawrence Aidoo cross, but Bremen had two shots cleared off the line in the second half. Jorg Stiel saved from Marco Bode but the rebound fell to half-time substitute Ailton, whose shot was blocked by Stefan Korell. Ivan Klasnic collected the clearance but his attempt was knocked away by Peter Nielsen.
More misery for Nürnberg
In Saturday's other games, there was more misery for 1.FC Nürnberg as they lost 3-1 against Hamburger SV at the AOL Arena. Struggling 1.FC Köln earned a 1-1 draw at home against Hertha BSC Berlin, while TSV 1860 München won 2-0 against FC Hansa Rostock at the Olympiastadion.
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