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FOOTBALL

Mainz top table for first time ever

Dark horses Mainz went top of the Bundesliga on Saturday after they shocked Champions League side Werder Bremen 2-0, while champions Bayern Munich were held to a goalless draw by Cologne.

Mainz top table for first time ever
Photo: DPA

Fresh from their 2-2 mid-week draw with Tottenham in the Champions League, Bremen were stunned at home as midfielder Marcel Risse netted and teenage striker Andre Schürrle scored his third goal in three games.

The win leaves Mainz as the only team in the German league with four wins

from their first four games.

“That was nothing like what you expect from Werder Bremen,” fumed coach Thomas Schaaf, whose side face Hanover on Tuesday in their next match. “It is perhaps for the best that we now have to play again on Tuesday in Hanover.”

Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel said his side showed plenty of self-belief to get a win at Bremen.

“We wanted to defend aggressively and not let Werder come into the game, which we managed very well,” said Tuchel. “We were very attentive throughout the entire game and stayed focused.”

“The leadership in the team has also given us courage to believe we could win in Bremen,” he said.

Defending champions Bayern remain in mid-table after they were held by Cologne at Munich’s Allianz Arena.

The game coincided with the start of Oktoberfest in the Bavarian city, but there was little for Bayern fans to celebrate.

Cologne had several chances to win as Bayern goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt had a busy afternoon, while Munich only threatened in the game’s closing stages. The result leaves Bayern eighth with five points from four games.

“I am not disappointed with our game,” said Bayern coach Louis van Gaal. “We got in the penalty area on several occasions, but it is always difficult when the opposition put so many players behind the ball.

“We found it hard to score. In those situations you need to have a bit of luck, which we don’t seem to have at the moment. If we continue on this path, then I am sure we will take our chances soon. It is only a matter of time.”

Hoffenheim lost their 100 percent record and are now second after they were held to a 2-2 draw by Kaiserslautern.

Making only his second appearanace for Hoffenheim, Iceland midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson came off the bench on 77 minutes and blasted home a free-kick to rescue a point for his team.

Stuttgart ended their three-match losing streak in spectacular fashion by thrashing Borussia Moenchengladbach 7-0, with Russian striker Pavel Pogrebnyak scoring a hat-trick.

Christian Gross-coached Stuttgart got off to a flying start when Pogrebnyak scored after just two minutes and he scored his third goal on the hour mark as the hosts ran riot to claim their first points of the season.

Ex-England coach Steve McClaren picked up his first points in charge of Wolfsburg as Brazilian playmaker Diego and Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko both netted in a 2-0 win over Hanover.

Diego struck first with a superb bicycle kick on 55 minutes, while Dzeko showed his power and pace with a 67th-minute shot that gave Hanover goalkeeper Florian Fromlowitz no chance.

There are two key derbies on Sunday, when Hamburg are at St Pauli in the Hamburg city derby and Dortmund are at Schalke in the Ruhr valley clash.

AFP/bk

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MUNICH

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.

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