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Bremen stay in Euro hunt with victory over Hanover
Published : 11 Mar 2012 16:46:59
Werder Bremen kept themselves in the hunt for a Champions League place on Sunday with a 3-0 home victory over Hanover 96, while Bayern Munich have cut Borussia Dortmund's lead at the top of the Bundesliga.
Bremen's ex-Chelsea striker Claudio Pizarro put his side ahead with some clinical finishing on 31 minutes before Austria defender Sebastian Proedl and Sweden striker Markus Rosenberg added further second-half goals.
The win leaves Bremen sixth, five points from fourth, with the top four in the Bundesliga qualifying for the Champions League, while the sides finishing fifth and sixth at the end of the season go into the Europa League.
Defeat for Hanover, who were held to a 2-2 draw on Thursday against Standard Liege in the last 16 of the Europa League, left them seventh.
On Saturday, Germany striker Mario Gomez netted a hat-trick in Bayern's 7-1 demolition of Hoffenheim as the Bavarians trimmed Dortmund's lead to five points.
Dortmund were held to a goalless draw at Augsburg on Saturday night, with Bayern taking the chance to cut their lead and give themselves a confidence boost ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash against FC Basel.
With Bayern already licking their wounds from last weekend's 2-0 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen, mid-week reports suggested coach Jupp Heynckes will quit at the end of the season, but he insisted he will see out the 15 months left on his contract.
Bayern responded to the pressure by blitzing Hoffenheim with five goals in exactly 30 minutes during a devastating first-half performance.
Dutch winger Arjen Robben grabbed two first-half goals, while France's Franck Ribery capped a fine display with a second-half effort and Germany midfielder Toni Kroos also netted.
Only a late own goal by Bayern's Luiz Gustavo offered Hoffenheim a consolation score.
It was only Bayern's fifth win in their 10 games since Christmas, but with third-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach being held to a goalless draw by Freiburg, Bayern are now three points clear of third with a huge goal difference.
Germany striker Lukas Podolski, who is reportedly set to join Arsenal at the end of the season, was shown a straight red card in Cologne's bad-tempered 1-0 home win over Hertha Berlin as the hosts finished with nine men.
Cologne midfielder Christian Clemens scored the first-half winner, but Podolski was one of three players sent off for what the referee deemed to be a head butt, although replays backed up Podolski's claims of innocence.
It was the first red card of the 26-year-old's Bundesliga career.
After their humiliating 7-1 defeat at Barcelona in the Champions League in midweek, Leverkusen slumped to a 3-2 loss at Wolfsburg, despite taking an early lead.
Mainz are up to 11th after a 2-1 win at home to Nuremberg as Egypt striker Mohamed Zidan continued his remarkable scoring run with his sixth goal in consecutive games, drilling home a free-kick on 22 minutes.