Gomez lifts Stuttgart, Schalke go top
Germany striker Mario Gomez was both goal scorer and provider as VfB Stuttgart came from behind to beat Karlsruhe 3-1 at home on Sunday to go third in the Bundesliga as Schalke 04 finished the weekend top of the table.
The shock of the weekend was defending champions Bayern Munich's 5-2 defeat at home to Werder Bremen on Saturday - their first league defeat of the season - which saw the German giants drop from second to eighth.
Gomez led Stuttgart's recovery after they fell behind when Karlsruhe striker Sebastian Freis had a free header in the penalty area on eight minutes. Gomez, who is rediscovering his form after a poor UEFA EURO 2008, set up the equaliser for midfielder Sami Khedira on 22 minutes, and put his side ahead on 68 minutes to claim his third goal in five games. Romania striker Ciprian Marica scored Stuttgart's third on 87 minutes to seal the win.
"In the first half, we didn't play so well, but we managed to take our chances when they came," said Stuttgart coach Armin Veh. "We were much better after the break, won the individual battles and we deserved the victory."
Newly-promoted Hoffenheim are up to second after they hammered Dortmund 4-1 at home on Sunday. "," said coach Ralf Rangnick. "The boys are smart enough to know we must always play like this if we are to remain successful, so there is no danger of over-confidence."
Martin Jol's Hamburg missed their chance to stay top of the Bundesliga when they were blitzed 3-0 at VfL Wolfsburg, and the defeat leaves them fourth. Hamburg began the weekend in first place, but lost top spot after Schalke beat Eintracht Frankfurt 1-0 on Saturday.
Goals by midfielder Ashkan Dejagah, defender Alexander Madlung and Brazilian Grafite left Hamburg on the ropes after just 28 minutes and they never recovered. "It's not yet Christmas, but we virtually gave the goals away to Wolfsburg as presents," said Jol. "In the second half, we tried everything. That was perhaps the most positive part of the game."
Bayern Munich coach Jurgen Klinsmann could only rue his side's 'black' Saturday as Werder Bremen routed the defending champions in Munich. Bremen's teenage midfielder Mesut Oezil, 19, provided the final passes for the first two goals, and Sweden striker Markus Rosenberg scored goals either side of half-time as Bremen ran riot to leave Bayern on the ropes at 5-0 down.
Germany midfielder Tim Borowski scored two late goals, but they were no more than consolation. "That was a black day. Bremen were better, more spirited and more aggressive than us," said Klinsmann. "From this we can only learn, we can't bury our heads in the sand, we have to improve."
Schalke 04 grabbed a 1-0 win over ten-man Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday after Brazilian defender Chris was sent off on 34 minutes for assaulting Germany defender Heiko Westermann.
And on 41 minutes Frankfurt's misery was complete when Patrick Ochs tackled Schalke striker Jefferson Farfan in the area only to slide the ball under his own goalkeeper.
Also on Saturday, Hertha Berlin enjoyed a 1-0 win at Borussia Moechengladbach, while mid-table Arminia Bielefeld beat Cologne 2-0 and Energie Cottbus drew 1-1 with VfL Bochum. On Friday, Bayer Leverkusen's Patrick Helmes scored a hat-trick in their 4-0 home victory over Hanover 96 which left them fifth in the table.