Bundesliga: Bremen topple Hamburg to hit summit
BERLIN, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Werder Bremen jumped to the top of the Bundesliga table ahead of Bayern Munich on Saturday with a 2-1 home victory over Hamburg SV, capping a fine week after their 3-2 win against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Ivory Coast striker Boubacar Sanogo put Werder in front in the 15th minute on a soggy pitch, taking a through ball from Croatia midfielder Jurica Vranjes on the left and beating Hamburg goalkeeper Frank Rost with a crisp shot to the far post.
Hamburg got the equaliser against the run of play just past the hour when Rafael van der Vaart capitalised on a blunder from keeper Christian Vander. His attempt to clear went straight to the Dutch midfielder, who lobbed a shot back over Vander's head.
Werder got back in front three minutes later through a Rost error.
Finland defender Petri Pasanen had tried to send in a cross from the right but Hamburg defender Vincent Kompany got a leg to it, deflecting it high before it tucked into the near corner.
Werder now lead for the first time this season with 33 points. Bayern, who play on Sunday at Arminia Bielefeld, are second on 31 points and Hamburg third on 30.
'We wanted the win and we're obviously very pleased,' said Werder coach Thomas Schaaf. 'It was a difficult week and a difficult match. But we did it. We didn't let up at all today, even after conceding the equaliser. It was a great performance.'
Both Werder and Hamburg were unbeaten in their last nine league matches with seven wins and two draws for 23 points. It was also the 87th north German derby. Werder now have 28 wins to Hamburg's 27 with 32 draws.
'I don't know if they were the better team, but they were certainly fresher,' said Hamburg coach Huub Stevens, who said he was not happy his team had to play two days after their 3-0 UEFA Cup win on Thursday over Stade Rennes.
Werder had an extra day of rest after their victory over Real Madrid.
'It's unfortunate that such a match that could be so decisive for the championship had to be played under such conditions. You obviously aren't going to get as much out of your body just 42 hours after the last match.'
Van der Vaart, who now has nine goals and pulled even with Bayern Munich strikers Miroslav Klose and Luca Toni at the top of the goal scoring table, said there could be no excuses.
'They were better in the first half and that's when they won it,' he said. 'We played on Thursday but that's no excuse. There's no shame in losing in Bremen. We'll bounce back.'
Bulgaria defender Stanislav Angelov scored two late goals to lead Energie Cottbus to only their second win in 15 matches against Karlsruhe, and off the bottom of the table in front of MSV Duisburg, at least until Sunday.
Bayer Leverkusen won their fourth in a row to move up to fourth place, beating Hertha Berlin. Carsten Ramelow scored from long-range, Tranquillo Barnetta tapped in a deflected free kick and Sergej Ramelow scored for the visitors.
Germany midfielder Bernd Schneider, who was out for 10 weeks with injury, made his comeback for Leverkusen, playing the final 20 minutes. It was Hertha's third loss in the last four matches.
Schalke captain Marcelo Bordon headed in a corner from Ivan Rakitic in the 32nd minute for their third successive win, earning Schalke revenge in the derby after Bochum beat them 2-1 on April 27 costing Schalke the championship last season.
But Schalke faced jeers from the home crowd after the final whistle for the modest effort that followed a 0-0 Champions League draw against 10-man Valencia on Wednesday.
VfB Stuttgart's four-match league winning streak ended. The win also ended a six-match winless string for Borussia Dortmund and should help coach Thomas Doll keep his job for now.
Croatia's Mladen Petric scored the winner 11 minutes from time, his seventh goal of the season. Nelson Valdez had put Dortmund in front in the 11th minute before Portugal's Fernando Meira headed in the equaliser in the 35th minute.
VfL Wolfsburg led twice on goals from Christian Gentner and Edin Dzeko against Eintracht Frankfurt but extended their winless run to four matches.
Chris got the first equaliser on a Simon Jentzsch blunder, prompting coach Felix Magath to replace his goalkeeper at halftime with Andre Lenz. Michael Fink got the second equaliser four minutes after Wolfsburg went in front.