Fri, Mar 28, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Former champs Stuttgart fall into relegation zone


SC Freiburg’s Matthias Ginter, left, vies for the ball with Hamburg SV’s Jacques Zoua in their Bundesliga match in Hamburg, Germany, on Wednesday.

Photo: EPA

Former Bundesliga champions VfB Stuttgart fell into the relegation zone on Wednesday by losing 2-0 at Nuremberg, while Hamburg SV also came closer to dropping into second tier by drawing 1-1 at home to SC Freiburg.

A day after Bayern Munich clinched their 24th league title, two storied clubs found themselves facing an uphill battle to avoid being demoted.

Nuremberg lifted themselves from the relegation zone with their win after a brace by Josip Drmic. Freiburg stayed in 15th place, two points ahead of Hamburg, also former champions and the only club never to be relegated from the top tier.

A 16th-placed finish means a playoff against a second-tier team for a place in the top division.

Stuttgart and Hamburg are three points above bottom-placed Eintracht Braunschweig.

Also on Wednesday, Bayer 04 Leverkusen won 3-1 at Augsburg to end a nine-game run without a victory in all competitions, while Eintracht Frankfurt edged Borussia Moenchengladbach 1-0 and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim edged 10-man Hannover 96 3-1.

Stuttgart won the last of their three championships in 2006-2007, but the club is now two points from safety, just like Hamburg.

Wednesday’s loss hurt even more because it came against a direct rival in the battle against relegation.

Nuremberg ended a four-match losing streak, with Drmic bringing his season total to 15 goals by scoring either side of halftime.

Striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga returned after missing three games through injury to salvage one point for Hamburg, who fell behind in the 50th minute through a goal by Vladimir Darida, but Lassoga notched the equalizer five minutes later.

Hoffenheim and Frankfurt all but made sure of avoiding demotion.

Hannover lost Manuel Schmiedebach to a red card in the 75th minute, but by then Hoffenheim were already 2-1 up and Sebastian Rudy secured the victory in stoppage-time.

Leon Andreasen put Hannover ahead, but Eugen Polanski and Anthony Modeste then scored for Hoffenheim.

Striker Joselu scored a first-half goal for Frankfurt’s second consecutive victory.

Leverkusen had lost five of their past six in the Bundesliga, but Stefan Kiessling scored his 13th goal of the season to put his team ahead. Augsburg pulled one back through Tobias Werner, but Son Heung-min and Emre Can scored late in the match to secure Leverkusen’s win.

Leverkusen strengthened their grip on fourth place and have three points more than VfL Wolfsburg in fifth.

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