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Gladbach lose at Nuremberg as Dortmund open gap
Title contenders Borussia Moenchengladbach missed the chance to close the seven-point gap behind German league leaders Dortmund on Sunday as they suffered a 1-0 defeat at mid-table Nuremberg
Lucien Favre's side remain third in the Bundesliga and were heading to a goalless draw before Nuremberg's in-form striker Alexander Esswein squared the ball for Swiss forward Albert Bunjaku to fire home in the 87th minute.
Gladbach's defeat means all of the top four teams lost this weekend apart from top side Dortmund who claimed a 2-1 win over Mainz on Saturday as Japan winger Shinji Kagawa scored the late winner.
Second-placed Bayern Munich slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen after wasting a string of clear chances while Schalke 04, who are fourth, were shocked 2-1 at relegation-threatened Freiburg.
After Dortmund claimed their eighth consecutive win -- a new club record -- Bayern's director of sport Christian Nerlinger has refused to wave the white flag but admitted winning the Bundesliga title is out of their hands.
"We won't be talking about winning the league," said Nerlinger, after goals by Leverkusen's ex-Germany striker Stefan Kiessling and midfielder Karim Bellarabi saw his team fall to their sixth league defeat.
"I'm not writing off the title, but it's not something which need concern us now. Somehow, we have to get a grip on our weakness away from home."
Dortmund underlined their credentials as league leaders by grinding out victory against Mainz, with Kagawa scoring the winner just three minutes after the visitors had equalised.
The hosts took the lead after Poland captain Jakub Blaszczykowski fired home from Kagawa's final pass on 26 minutes.
Mainz striker Mohamed Zidan, who only left Dortmund in January, scored in his fifth consecutive game for his new club when he found the net from a tight angle on 74 minutes to beat Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller.
"When they play like this, they are almost impossible to stop," said Zidan after Kagawa restored the hosts' lead when he found space in the Mainz defence just three minutes later.
With 55 points, Dortmund are well clear of Bayern, who are on 48, while Gladbach are on 47 with Schalke fourth on 44.
Bayern face a make-or-break few weeks and have to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg of their last-16 tie against FC Basel on March 13 in the Champions League before a German Cup semi-final at Gladbach on March 21.
The Bavarians are bidding to avoid a repeat of last season, when they finished in the rare position of having won no silverware.
There is also evidence of disharmony in the team as defender Jerome Boateng and midfielder Thomas Mueller engaged in a second-half shouting match.
Stuttgart are eighth in the table after they earned a 4-0 win at Hamburg.
Hertha Berlin finally broke their seven-match losing streak with a 1-0 win over Werder Bremen, giving coach Otto Rehhagel, who steered Greece to the Euro 2004 title, his first win in only his second game in charge.
Schalke's ambitions of winning a first Bundesliga title suffered a dent as they fell 2-1 at Freiburg, which lifted the hosts off the bottom of the table.
Kaiserslautern are now bottom of the table after their goalless draw with VfL Wolfsburg, while Augsburg are 16th after their 2-2 draw at Hanover.
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