Hamburg keep pressure on Hertha

Hamburg put themselves back in the title race with a 2-0 win over Energie Cottbus to join the three-strong pack that is chasing leaders Hertha Berlin on 49 points. Two goals in seven first-half minutes from Croatia striker Ivica Olic and Germany winger Piotr Trochowski mean Hamburg finish the weekend fourth, but level on 45 points with second-placed Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg.

Olic struck with a header on 32 minutes which gave Cottbus goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel no chance, before Trochowski caught Tremmel out with a free-kick from 22 metres seven minutes later to keep Cottbus in the bottom three. "That was a hard-earned win. It wasn't pretty, but it was important for us," said Hamburg coach Martin Jol.

Hamburg will be without Croatian striker Mladen Petric for a few weeks after he damaged a thigh muscle in the game. "I took a knock to the muscle and I will have to sit out for the next two or three weeks," said Petric, who has scored ten goals this season.

Werder surprise Stuttgart
Werder Bremen picked up their first league win of 2009 when they humbled Stuttgart 4-0 and inflicted the first defeat in ten games for coach Markus Babbel. Bremen's Sweden striker Markus Rosenberg struck twice to leave Stuttgart sixth, while Bremen are tenth.

Voronin strikes again
On 14 March, Hertha Berlin's hot-shot striker Andrei Voronin scored his eighth goal in six games to keep the leaders four points clear at the top, with a 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen. The 29-year-old, on loan from Premier League side Liverpool, followed up last week's hat-trick against Energie Cottbus with a goal on 50 minutes which contained some good fortune.

After firing his shot at Leverkusen's Germany goalkeeper Rene Adler, the ball came off the goalkeeper's out-stretched leg, only to bounce off Voronin's chest into the empty net. Hertha's recent run has boosted attendance at Berlin's Olympic Stadium and a crowd of 58,753 saw the win over Leverkusen.

"We are very pleased with the win. Leverkusen are one of the best teams in Germany," said Hertha coach Lucien Favre. "They were better than us in the first half. We tried more after the break, but it was still very tight at the end."

Bayern lose Klose
After their UEFA Champions League heroics in midweek, when they sealed a 12-1 aggregate win over Sporting Lisbon, Bayern Munich are second as they had few problems beating ten-man Bochum 3-0 away from home on 14 March. But the win has cost Bayern the services of Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who will miss the next two weeks after having ankle surgery for damaged ligaments. The 30-year-old, the top scorer at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™, faces a race against time to be fit for Bayern's UEFA Champions League quarter-final next month.

Hoffenheim drop to fifth in the table and have now gone six games without a win after they were held to a 1-1 draw at mid-table Eintracht Frankfurt yesterday. There was a battle royal at Hannover, as the home side drew 4-4 with Borussia Dortmund, while Borussia Moechengladbach picked up their third win in four games to ease their relegation worries with a 4-2 win at Cologne.

Karlsruhe are now three points off the pace at the foot of the table after they were beaten 1-0 at home by Arminia Bielefeld. On13 March, Brazilian striker Grafite scored a hat-trick to help Wolfsburg beat Schalke 4-3 to put his side up to third.