Germany round-up: Bayern on course for title

FC Bayern München stayed 13 points clear with a comfortable 4-1 win at VfL Bochum 1848.

FC Bayern München stayed on course for the 1. Bundesliga title with a comfortable 4-1 win at VfL Bochum 1848.

First-half headers
The victory kept Bayern 13 points ahead of champions BV Borussia Dortmund, and was never in doubt after first-half headers from Peruvian striker Claudio Pizarro and Brazilian forward Giovane Elber gave the away side a two-goal cushion.

Late consolation
Bayern continued to control the game after the interval, and Croatian midfield player Niko Kovac, who replaced the injured Michael Ballack in the Bayern lineup, virtually sealed all three points when he made it 3-0 at the start of the second half. French defender Willy Sagnol added a fourth goal two minutes before the final whistle, although there was still time for Bochum striker Thomas Christiansen to score a consolation goal in added time.

Dortmund keep challenge alive
Dortmund kept up their faint hopes of retaining their title and remained in second place thanks to a 2-0 home win against Hannover 96. Goals in either half from Torsten Frings and Leandro sealed a win that kept Matthias Sammer’s side on course for a UEFA Champions League spot.

Crucial victory
At the other end of the table, 1. FC Kaiserslautern secured an important win with a 3-1 victory at bottom side FC Energie Cottbus. German international striker Miroslav Klose gave Kaiserslautern the lead after 39 minutes, but the home side were level before half-time thanks to a goal from defender Timo Rost.

Rare away win
However, second-half strikes from Bulgarian midfield player Marian Hristov and Vratislav Lokvenc completed Kaiserslautern’s first away win of the season and their seventh successive match unbeaten.
Leverkusen in trouble
However, Bayer 04 Leverkusen's relegation worries continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by VfL Wolfsburg. Bernd Schneider missed a penalty for Leverkusen in the first half, who looked to have taken all three points when defender Carsten Ramelow opened the scoring after 68 minutes, only for Tomislav Maric salvaged a point for Wolfsburg with an equaliser nine minutes from time.

Comfortable win
DSC Arminia Bielefeld moved above Leverkusen with a 4-1 home win against VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach. Mamadou Diabang scored a hat-trick for the home side, with Artur Wichniarek adding the other goal, while Mönchengladbach’s solitary response was a Peter van Houdt effort.

Schalke defeat
FC Schalke 04 suffered a 3-1 defeat at Hamburger SV, who took the lead through Bernardo Romeo after 29 minutes. Schalke drew level through Marco van Hoogdalem 12 minutes into the second period, but then lost Christian Poulsen and Anibal Matellan to red cards, and two goals in the final three minutes from Naohiro Takahara and Romeo again sealed Hamburg’s win.

Nine-man Bremen defeated
SV Werder Bremen also had two players sent off, with Johan Micoud and Krisztian Lisztes both dismissed in a 1-0 defeat at FC Hansa Rostock, for whom Dietmar Hirsch scored the winning goal.

Sunday action
Third-placed VfB Stuttgart visit TSV 1860 München on Sunday, while Hertha BSC Berlin travel to 1. FC Nürnberg.