Wolfsburg squeak out of relegation zone

Wolfsburg squeak out of relegation zone
Photo: DPA
Former Bundesliga champions VfL Wolfsburg moved a step closer to safety on Sunday with a late equaliser to draw 1-1 at home with Eintracht Frankfurt, despite having been reduced to 10 men.

A second-half goal from Frankfurt midfielder Alexander Meier put the guests ahead before the Wolves had Germany defender Arne Friedrich sent off for a second yellow card. He will now miss Saturday’s game at Schalke 04.

But Wolfsburg hit back with an 85th-minute header from Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic to snatch a point which lifts them up to 16th in the table and two points away from escaping the bottom three.

Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath will be hoping for a more impressive performance when he returns to Gelsenkirchen-based Schalke this weekend after the Royal Blues sacked him last month.

Earlier Cologne striker Milivoje Novakovic scored with virtually the last kick of the game to give his side a 1-0 win over Nuremberg and claim their seventh straight home win.

After his team had wasted a string of chances, Novakovic finally scored in the 92nd minute to claim his 12 goal of the season from 22 games and continue Cologne’s remarkable run.

The last time Cologne failed to win at home in the German league was back in November and the purple patch has seen them leave the relegation zone far behind to go tenth.

The defeat leaves Nuremberg sixth and just outside next season’s European places.

On Saturday, Borussia Dortmund came from behind to floor Bundesliga title rivals Hanover 96 with a 4-1 victory which maintained their seven-point lead at the top of the table.

With six games left, Dortmund move ever closer to their first Bundesliga title since 2002 with second-half goals from Germany’s rising star Mario Götze, two by Paraguay’s Lucas Barrios and Kevin Grosskreutz.

“This was a very, very important win.” said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp. “I am very happy that and how we came back after falling behind against such a strong opponent.

“If you go 1-0 down, it is not a great position to be in, but we produced a great goal to get back in the game.”

Second-placed Leverkusen stayed in the title race thanks to a single goal from midfielder Sidney Sam which gave them a 1-0 win and three crucial points at Kaisterslautern.

Bayern Munich leap-frogged Hanover into third, thanks to their 1-0 win over bottom-side Borussia Mönchengladbach, who are destined to be in the second division next season.

Dutch winger Arjen Robben spared Bayern’s blushes with his ninth goal in 10 league games after missing the start of the season with injury.

The win puts Bayern seven points behind second-placed Leverkusen – and an automatic Champions League place next season – while ‘Gladbach are seven points from safety.

Midtable sides Hamburg and Hoffenheim played out a goalless draw on Saturday night.

Former German champions Stuttgart and Werder Bremen drew 1-1 with both sides still close to the drop-zone.

Fifth-placed Mainz 05 remain on course for a European place next season thanks to their 1-1 draw at home to Freiburg.

The German Football Federation (DFB) are set heavily to punish relegation-candidates St Pauli following an attack on the assistant referee during Friday night’s game against Schalke 04.

With just a minute left of the match and Schalke leading 2-0, assistant referee Thorsten Schiffner was struck in the upper back by a cup full of beer and referee Deniz Aytekin abandoned the game soon after.


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