Marica keeps Stuttgart’s title hopes alive

May 14th, 2009 - 3:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Bayern Munich Hamburg, May 14 (DPA) A second-half goal from Ciprian Marica ensured VfB Stuttgart move within two points to the top of the Bundesliga table thanks to a 2-1 victory over Schalke 04 Wednesday.
In other action, SV Hamburg bounced back from last week’s elimination from the UEFA Cup with a 3-1 victory over VfL Bochum while Hamburg’s European conquerors Werder Bremen demolished Eintracht Frankfurt 5-0.

Meanwhile, a last-minute goal from Dante ensured a 1-0 win for Borussia Moenchengladbach away to fellow relegation rivals Energie Cottbus, a result that sees Gladbach move out of the bottom three.

Bundesliga leaders VfL Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich both claimed victories Tuesday to move onto 63 points with two games remaining. Hertha Berlin also won to stay a point adrift.

Needing a win themselves to go to 61 points and maintain any realistic title dreams, Stuttgart got the perfect start, going ahead after 15 minutes when Brazilian Cafu fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.

However, Schalke were back on level terms six minutes before the break as Ivan Rakitic curved his free-kick over the wall and past Jens Lehmann in the Stuttgart goal.

But Stuttgart weren’t to be denied with Marica popping up to make it 2-1 in the 57th minute to leave Markus Babbel’s side unbeaten for eight games.

“Stuttgart were more effective and deserved to win as a result,” said Schalke coach Mike Bueskens.

Hamburg move up to fifth on 58 points thanks to a 3-1 victory at home to relegation-threatened Bochum.

Jose Paolo Guerrero opened the scoring for Martin Jol’s side on the quarter-hour mark, with a firmly struck shot from outside the area.

Ivica Olic doubled Hamburg’s lead in the 33rd minute, heading home an Dennis Aogo corner. Olic netted his second of the game before Paul Freier got a consolation effort for Bochum.

Arminia Bielefeld remain in the relegation zone after going down 1-0 at home to Hoffenheim.

Brazilian Wellington got the only goal of the game for Hoffenheim, taking advantage of some sloppy defending by Andre Mijatovic.

Sejad Salihovic made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 82nd minute, which also resulted in a red card for Mijatovic.

Bremen showed they are in fine fettle ahead of next week’s UEFA Cup final clash with Shakhtar Donetsk in Istanbul, demolishing Frankfurt with five second-half goals.

After a scoreless first half, they sprang into life in the 50th minute, when Frankfurt defender Patrick Ochs saw a straight red for a last- man tackle on Mesut Ozil in the area.

Torsten Frings dispatched the resultant spot kick to put Bremen in front and the Germany midfielder doubled his side’s lead five minutes later, after being set up by Claudio Pizarro.

Alexandros Tziolis made it 3-0 on the hour-mark and Ozil set up Pizarro three minutes later for the Peruvian to make it four, while substitute Hugo Almeida completed the rout.

“We did a lot of good things tonight,” said Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf.

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