Mon, Dec 15, 2008 - Page 18 News List

BUNDES LIGA: Stuttgart score late to rein in leaders Bayern Munich

AFP , BERLIN

Werder Bremen’s Markus Rosenberg, left, and Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Costa vie for the ball during their German Bundesliga match in Bremen, Germany, on Saturday.

PHOTO: AP

Stuttgart midfielder Sami Khedira hit an injury-time equalizer to seal a 2-2 draw with 10-man Bayern Munich on Saturday, but the point was enough to put Jurgen Klinsmann-coached Bayern top of the Bundesliga.

Second-half goals by Tim Borowski and Luca Toni had canceled out Khedira’s header at the end of the first half, until the 21-year-old hit his second of the game with virtually the last kick of the match.

Bayern had earlier been reduced to 10 men when defender Massimo Oddo was shown a straight red for kicking midfielder Christian Traesch in the head with five minutes left.

“It was an exciting derby, I had the feeling we had done enough for victory, but the red card was the turning point,” Bayern coach Klinsmann said. “But I am content with what the team have done in the last three months and we are better prepared for the next round of games in the new year.”

Despite the late equalizer, Munich have turned around their league position from 11th at the start of October to lead the table on Saturday night.

Stuttgart, whose coach Markus Babbel remains unbeaten after two wins and a draw having taken over three weeks ago after Armin Veh was sacked, had taken the lead in injury time at the end of the first half through Khedira.

The Germany under-21 midfielder stood his ground in the heart of the Munich defense and headed home past Michael Rensing to make it 1-0 at the break.

But Bayern equalized within three minutes of the re-start after Germany star Bastian Schweinsteiger drove his shot through the defense and, although Jens Lehammn saved, Borowski pounced on the loose ball to score.

Stuttgart squandered an excellent chance to regain the lead when Brazilian striker Cacau pushed his shot wide with only Rensing to beat and Stuttgart were made to pay when Toni turned in Borowski’s cross on 66 minutes to make it 2-1.

But Khedira spoiled Bayern’s party when he volleyed home his shot with the 90 minutes up as Stuttgart poured forward in an attempt to force the equalizer.

“The team did exactly what I asked them to do,” Babbel said. “There was passion and a willing until up to the very last minute. But I am not completely happy, because we had our chances to win and we didn’t take them.”

Third-placed Hertha Berlin kept up the pressure on the leaders with a 4-0 win over Karlsruhe at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.

The home team got an early break through when Maximilian Nicu smashed in a goal on eight minutes after a mistake in the Karlsruhe defense.

Bulgaria’s Valeri Domovchiyski, midfielder Fabian Lustenberger and Brazilian Raffael all hit goals in the last 15 minutes to turn the score into a rout.

Hamburg were fourth after their 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt as Croatia striker Mladen Petric sealed victory with a second-half header.

Bayer Leverkusen went fifth after they were held 1-1 at home by struggling Energie Cottbus.

Werder Bremen were up to seventh after a 2-1 win over VfL Wolfsburg.

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