Stuttgart closer to safety, Bayern regroup
Ten-man VfB Stuttgart on Sunday gave themselves a fighting chance of avoiding relegation with a gutsy 2-0 win at Frankfurt, while Bayern Munich have waved the white-flag on their title aspirations. Stuttgart earned their win despite losing French defender Matthieu Delpierre to a straight red card after only 15 minutes for pushing over Frankfurt's Maik Franz, who was also shown a yellow card in the incident.
However, Stuttgart floored Frankfurt with two second-half goals in three minutes as Austrian striker Martin Harnik and Hungarian midfielder Tamas Hajnal scored for their second-from-bottom side. After consecutive defeats, this is an important win for Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia with his side still two points from safety in 17th with ten games left. This is the seventh consecutive league game when Frankfurt have failed to score a single goal and the result leaves them 13th.
Before second-placed Bayer Leverkusen played Werder Bremen today, Borussia Dortmund had a 13-point lead at the top-of-the-table after Saturday's 3-1 win at defending champions Bayern Munich. Bayern's director of sport Christian Nerlinger has said he now expects Borussia to win their first league title since 2002.
"I think Dortmund will be champions, and rightly so," Nerlinger said. "We now have a different target, we have to go for second place now with everything we've got, and it won't be easy. It's a dangerous situation, which the players mustn't underestimate."
Dortmund's young team, their average age just 22.3 years old, proved their status as Bundesliga winners-in-waiting with victory in Bayern's backyard and their second win over Munich this season. Goals by Germany defender Mats Hummels, Paraguay's Lucas Barrios and Turkey midfielder Nuri Sahin sealed Borussia's 18th win from 24 league matches, while Luiz Gustavo scored what proved to be Bayern's first-half consolation goal.