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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 13, 2006

Bremen grab second Champions League spot

BERLIN, May 13 (Reuters) - Werder Bremen snatched second place and direct qualification into the Champions League with a thrilling 2-1 victory at Hamburg SV on the final day of the Bundesliga season.

Miroslav Klose scored the winner 18 minutes from time which lifted Bremen up from third at the expense of Hamburg, who now enter the third qualifying round for the Champions League.

'It's hard to find words for this, the disappointment is so great,' said Hamburg coach Thomas Doll. 'It really hurts.'

Hamburg had been second most of the season but lost two of their final three matches, while Bremen's win gave them 17 points in their last seven games.

Bayern Munich, who clinched their 20th German championship a week ago, drew 3-3 at home against Borussia Dortmund to finish the season with 75 points, ahead of Bremen on 70 and Hamburg 68.

At the bottom of the table, VfL Wolfsburg secured 15th place with a 2-2 draw against Kaiserslautern, who finished one point behind them and were relegated along with Cologne and MSV Duisburg.

Klose, the Bundesliga's top scorer with 25 goals ahead of Bayer Leverkusen's Dimitar Berbatov with 21, found an opening between two defenders on the left to tap in a cross 12 minutes after Sergej Barbarez had equalised with a fine header.

Klose also set up Bremen's first goal in the 28th minute with a sharp pass from the right across the box that team mate Ivan Klasnic fired into the net.

BALLACK JEERED

But Bremen, the league's top-scoring team with 79 goals, squandered a chance to secure the victory eight minutes from time when Germany midfielder Tim Borowski missed a controversial penalty awarded by Germany's World Cup referee Markus Merk.

Borowski's shot hit the right post and bounced away.

'I tried to make the shot too perfect,' said Borowski. 'I was trying to be too cool.'

Hamburg wasted two earlier chances to equalise, when both Ailton and Benny Lauth were free in the box but sent their shots just wide. Ailton later squandered another chance in the 65th minute with a shot that sailed over the crossbar.

In Munich, midfielder Michael Ballack was jeered before the match as fan anger over his decision to leave Bayern, probably for Chelsea, after four years boiled over.

Bayern commercial manager Uli Hoeness had to go out on the pitch and appeal to the fans to stop booing.

Ballack, Roy Makaay and Bastian Schweinsteiger scored for Bayern but Dortmund fought back from 3-1 down. Czech striker Jan Koller scored twice, including the equaliser in the 76th minute, while Philipp Degen scored Dortmund's second goal.

'It wasn't fair that Michael was not given a good farewell even though the fans are naturally disappointed,' said Hoeness.

'I went out to calm things down and after that they quieted down. Michael had a lot of important goals for us.'

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