Sun, May 01, 2011 - Page 18 News List

St Pauli pushed to brink of relegation

DREADED DROP:St Pauli need a miracle to survive after losing 2-0 to Kaiserslautern, while VfL Wolfsburg climbed out of the relegation zone after beating Werder Bremen

AP, BERLIN

VfL Wolfsburg’s Sascha Riether, left, celebrates after scoring past Werder Bremen goalkeeper Tim Wiese during their Bundesliga match in Bremen, Germany, on Friday.

Photo: Reuters

St Pauli face Bundesliga relegation after losing 2-0 at Kaiserslautern on Friday, while VfL Wolfsburg beat Werder Bremen 1-0 in another relegation battle.

Christian Tiffert and Mathias Abel scored for Kaiserslautern, who moved up to 11th in the standings and look to have secured their survival at the expense of bottom side St Pauli.

With two games remaining, St Pauli are six points from safety ahead of the rest of the weekend’s games.

“The possibility is still there, but you can hardly see it. Only a miracle helps us really,” St Pauli sporting director Helmut Schulte said.

Sascha Riether scored for Wolfsburg in the 22nd minute, an easy tap-in from close range.

Wolfsburg provisionally climbed out of the relegation zone to 14th, while Bremen dropped to 12th.

“That was a very important step, but we have to go on and win again next week,” Wolfsburg defender Arne Friedrich said.

Poor defending allowed Tiffert to score for Kaiserslautern in the 28th minute when he beat Ralph Gunesch to head Leon Jessen’s cross past Benedikt Pliquett.

“It’s my wife’s birthday. The last time I scored it was my daughter’s birthday,” Tiffert said. “I have to have more children, so there’ll be more birthdays, so I can score more goals.”

Kaiserslautern goalkeeper Kevin Trapp made vital saves in one-on-one situations with Gerald Asamoah and Max Kruse before the interval.

Abel scored against the run of the play in the 68th minute when he rose highest to meet Tiffert’s corner.

St Pauli coach Holger Stanislawski sent on Marius Ebbers and Deniz Naki in a desperate bid to get a goal, but hopes of a miracle faded when Ebbers hooked the ball high and wide from close range with 10 minutes remaining.

“We fought hard and played good football. Anyone who says anything else is lying,” Stanislawski said. “Kaiserslautern scored at the right times and for that they deserve to win. It’s very bitter for us.”

In Bremen, Diego returned to the ground where he played for three seasons and the Wolfsburg midfielder threatened with a shot in the second minute.

Mario Mandzukic then hit the side netting, with Bremen restricted to chances from free-kicks, before Riether gave Felix Magath’s side a deserved lead.

Riether’s probing cross almost led to another in the 34th minute, but neither Grafite nor Mandzukic could stretch to meet the ball.

Friedrich was lucky not to receive a second yellow card for a bad challenge on Claudio Pizarro minutes later.

Pizarro flashed the ball to the right of the goal in the 62nd minute and Marko Marin’s cross was too high minutes later.

Marin’s appeals for a penalty were waved away in stoppage-time when the Bremen winger fell easily under the challenge of Grafite.

“We weren’t in the game and didn’t apply any pressure,” Werder coach Thomas Schaaf said. “We were too weak up front today.”

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