Schalke go joint third, Werder Bremen slip in Bundesliga

March 24th, 2008 - 1:26 pm ICT by admin  

Hamburg, March 24 (DPA) Schalke 04 beat Hertha Berlin 2-1 to move up to joint third in football’s Bundesliga while Werder Bremen lost further ground on leaders Bayern Munich, drawing 1-1 at relegation-threatened Arminia Bielefeld. Schalke’s third win in a row Sunday sees Mirko Slomka’s team move to 44 points, level with Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen, who went down 2-1 to leaders Bayern Munich Saturday thanks to a brace from Luca Toni.

Bayern sit on 53 points with nine games remaining, seven clear of nearest challengers SV Hamburg, who could only manage a draw at VfL Wolfsburg Saturday in a game in which both sides finished with nine men.

Schalke went in front against Hertha after just 12 minutes when Germany striker Gerald Asamoah headed home his sixth league goal of the season from a well-worked set piece that had obviously been practised on the training ground.

Jermaine Jones doubled Schalke’s lead 11 minutes later, taking full advantage of some hesitancy in the Hertha defence and slack goalkeeping on the part of Jaroslav Drobny to net from 16 metres with a low shot.

Hertha pulled one back on 66 minutes when Gojko Kacar was blocked in the area by Schalke defender Benedikt Hoewedes and referee Helmut Fleischer immediately pointed to the spot. Sofian Chahed calmly slotted home the resulting penalty to make it 2-1.

“We played really well in the first half,” said Slomka. “But we had a lot of difficulties as the game went on. I’m glad we won 2-1 in the end.”

Bremen went into the game against Bielefeld knowing a win would see them draw level with Hamburg on 46 points but instead Thomas Schaaf’s side found themselves behind after just a quarter of an hour as the home side scored on their first attack of note.

Artur Wichniarek fired in a shot from an acute angle that Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese could only parry into the path of Oliver Kirch, who calmly poked the ball home.

Markus Rosenberg missed a glorious chance to equalize for Bremen on 25 minutes but the Sweden striker fired straight at goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez.

Torsten Frings was also denied by Fernandez early in the second half while at the other end Wiese had to be at his best to prevent Wichniarek scoring on the break for Bielefeld.

However, Diego netted a deserved equalizer for Bremen from the penalty spot 20 minutes from time after Petr Gabriel hauled down Ivan Klasnic in the area.

Klasnic could have secured all the points for Bremen in stoppage time but he headed just wide.

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