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Cup finalists Stuttgart down Freiburg again

21 Apr 2013 16:16:57

Cup finalists Stuttgart down Freiburg again

VfB Stuttgart enjoyed their second home victory over Freiburg inside a week with a 2-1 Bundesliga win on Sunday, just four days after beating the same opponents by the same margin to reach the German Cup final.

Having booked their cup final berth against Bayern Munich at Berlin's Olympic Stadium on June 1, with Martin Harnik scoring the first-half winner last Wednesday, the Austrian set up both of Sunday's goals.

The right-winger fired in his cross for Christian Gentner to head home on 33 minutes, then set up striker Vedad Ibisevic to put Stuttgart 2-0 up at the break.

Croatia midfielder Ivan Santini grabbed Freiburg's consolation two minutes from time.

The win lifts Stuttgart up to 10th while Freiburg remain fifth, amongst the Europa League places, despite the defeat.

On Saturday, Bayern Munich warmed-up for Tuesday's Champions League semi-final, first-leg at home to Barcelona by claiming three Bundesliga records in a 6-1 rout at Hanover 96.

Victory gave Bayern a Bundesliga-record 26th victory this season, a record ninth consecutive away win, while they also equalled Dortmund's previous best of 81 points in a single season.

Only Hanover midfielder Andre Hoffmann's later header denied Bayern a record 20th-clean sheet, before striker Claudio Pizarro staked a claim to start against Barcelona with his second goal having already created two.

Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes opted to rest several stars and played a 4-4-2 formation, a break from Bayern's usual 4-2-3-1, using two strikers with Mario Gomez and veteran Pizarro, 34, up front.

It paid off as both scored two goals after Hanover midfielder Lars Stindl scored an early own goal, then Bayern's stand-in captain Franck Ribery, taking over from Philipp Lahm, added a second on 22 minutes.

Having been confirmed Bundesliga champions a fortnight ago, Bayern remain 20 points clear in the league with four games left.

Borussia Dortmund, who host Real Madrid in the other Champions League semi-final, first leg on Wednesday, needed just 32 seconds to take the lead as they enjoyed a 2-0 win at home to Mainz 05.

The hosts went ahead when the ball deflected back as the guests' goalkeeper Christian Wetklo challenged midfielder Mario Goetze and the ball fell to his Germany team-mate Marco Reus to tap into an empty net.

Poland striker Robert Lewandowski added Dortmund's second on 87 minutes to extend his remarkable club record of having netted in each of his last 12 league matches.

Lewandoski has now scored 23 goals this season and can equal Gerd Mueller's record of scoring in 16 consecutive games, for Bayern Munich in the 1970s, if he scores in the last four games.

Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Andre Schuerrle, who is widely being tipped to join Chelsea next season, scored twice as his side hammered relegation-threatened Hoffenheim 5-0.

Striker Stefan Kiessling also netted twice as Leverkusen maintained their grip on third place, which means an automatic Champions League spot next season, as Schalke lost 1-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt.

The result kept Armin Veh-coached Frankfurt in sixth place -- a Europa League spot -- with four games left.

Hamburg captain Rafael van der Vaart scored both goals in their 2-1 win at home to Fortuna Duesseldorf.

In Saturday's late match, Wolfsburg took a huge step closer to safety with a 3-0 win at fellow strugglers Werder Bremen.


AFP

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