Germany: Schallke go clear after Bremen are held
BERLIN, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Schalke 04 stretched their lead over Werder Bremen at the top of the Bundesliga to six points with a 2-0 win over Hertha Berlin on Saturday as Bremen lost 4-1 at third-placed VfB Stuttgart.
Germany international striker Kevin Kuranyi gave Schalke the lead on 64 minutes with a brave header from Lincoln's corner.
Danish striker Peter Lovenkrands, who scored both in Schalke's 2-0 win over Bremen last weekend, then slid home the rebound from his own shot 11 minutes later to secure victory.
'In the second half we raised the pressure and won a deserved victory with high-tempo football,' Schalke coach Mirko Slomka said.
He played down his team's chances of winning their first German championship since 1958, saying that their six-point advantage was meaningless at this stage of the season.
'The next match is always the hardest,' he said. 'We have to concentrate 100 percent and keep working and that starts again tomorrow.'
Schalke lead the standings on 48 points from 21 matches. Bremen are second on 42 and Stuttgart third with 41.
Champions Bayern Munich face Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday with coach Ottmar Hitzfeld hoping for a better result in his second match in charge since returning to the club to replace Felix Magath.
After last week's 3-0 drubbing at Nuremberg, Bayern are in fourth place, 14 points behind Schalke with a game in hand.
Stuttgart were in front against Bremen after only three minutes when midfielder Roberto Hilbert met Ludovic Magnin's cross and squeezed a shot over Tim Wiese.
Mario Gomez doubled their lead 11 minutes later with his 12th of the season, making him the Bundesliga's top scorer ahead of Bremen striker Miroslav Klose and Hertha's Marko Pantelic, both on 11.
Strong work from Germany international Klose set up Diego to slam home on 21 minutes, the Brazilian blasting high into the net from close range to keep his side in the match.
But Magnin restored Stuttgart's two-goal lead just before the break, driving into the box from the left and curling a right-foot shot into the bottom righthand corner.
Marco Streller completed the scoring on 86 minutes after good work down the left from Gomez.
Bottom club Hamburg's new coach Huub Stevens claimed a vital win in his home debut on Saturday when his side beat Borussia Dortmund 3-0 for only their second victory this season -- and their first at home.
Dortmund were reduced to 10 men when Dede was sent off three minutes before the break and Hamburg went on to end end their 12-match run without a victory since their last success at Bayer Leverkusen in October.
Although Hamburg remained bottom on 18 points, they closed the gap on Borussia Moenchengladbach and Alemannia Aachen, the two teams immediatly above them, to two points after those two sides played out a goalless draw between them.
VfL Bochum, who are also on 20 points in 15th place and just above the relegation zone, play Nuremberg on Sunday.