Bayern Munich looking to cement top league ranking

Bayern Munich will be looking to cement their newly gained place at the top of the Bundesliga this weekend as second and third-placed Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke snap at their heels.

Bayern Munich looking to cement top league ranking
Photo: DPA

A scorching goal from French striker Franck Ribery was enough for Bayern to beat fourth-placed Hamburg 1-0 last Sunday and take the Bavarian giants top for the first time since winning the title in 2008.

Leverkusen, who had been neck-and-neck with Bayern for a month and just ahead on goal difference, were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Cologne – Bayern’s opponents on Saturday.

“We expected Leverkusen to slip up, of course, and they did us the favour,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

Rummenigge’s team looks stronger on paper, having lost only two league games this season, and not since September, while 14th-placed Cologne have failed to win since an own goal saw them through against Frankfurt on January 30.

Bayern will travel to Cologne without Argentinian defender Martin Demichelis, out for three weeks after colliding with Michael Ballack’s knee in Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Germany. He has multiple facial fractures.

Leverkusen and Germany goalkeeper Rene Adler will be keen to keep a clean sheet as his team take on second-from-bottom Nuremberg away on Sunday, after his disastrous slip-up led to Argentina’s only goal on Wednesday.

The other main contender for the Bundesliga title is third-placed Schalke, four points behind Bayern and two points shy of Leverkusen. The next-closest, Hamburg, are 12 adrift of the leaders Bayern.

Schalke, with one defeat in their last 10 games, travel to seventh-placed Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, a side which manager Felix Magath is wary of underestimating.

“Eintracht is a very close-knit team. Every player is there for the others,” Magath said. “It will be a very difficult game.”

In other matches, Hamburg, who have sorely missed Ruud van Nistelrooy, take on bottom-placed Hertha Berlin at home.

Former Manchester United striker van Nistelrooy is set to make a welcome return after a thigh injury kept their new star signing sidelined for two weeks.

The Dutchman returned to training on Thursday, but coach Bruno Labbadia was optimistic he will be fit for the Hertha clash.

Defending champions Wolfsburg, now languishing in 11th place, host 13th-placed Bochum, while eighth-placed Stuttgart are away to sixth-placed Werder Bremen.

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Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.