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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 5, 2008

Werder face Hamburg in battle for Europe

BERLIN, May 5 (Reuters) - Werder Bremen, their faint title hopes now finally snuffed out, are determined not to let second place slip when they travel to face rivals Hamburg SV on Wednesday.

Bayern Munich secured their 21st German league championship on Sunday with three matches to spare, meaning the attention in Germany is now on the race for Europe.

Werder moved two points clear in second on Saturday as they beat Energie Cottbus 2-0 while third-placed Schalke 04 could only draw 1-1 at home to Hanover 96.

Thomas Schaaf's side are now confident of keeping that advantage over Schalke, who face a derby match away to Bochum on 2Tuesday.

'It doesn't matter to me now what Schalke's results are,' Werder midfielder Torsten Frings told reporters. 'We just have to win all our games and then they can do whatever they want - they won't catch us.'

Hamburg put a run of six matches without a win behind them to beat Hansa Rostock 3-1 on Saturday, with two goals from Ivica Olic and one from Rafael van der Vaart.

That took them back up to fourth place on 51 points, four behind Schalke and still with a chance of pipping them for the last Champions League spot.

'Only a win was enough for us, so I'm delighted that we put into practice what we'd talked about in the build-up to the game,' Hamburg coach Huub Stevens told reporters.

VfB Stuttgart, the deposed champions, are in fifth place behind Hamburg on goal difference.

They are away at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday in a match they must win if they are to cling on to their hopes of getting back into the Champions League.

Bayern Munich, 10 points clear with three to play, will celebrate the title in front of their fans on Wednesday when they host Arminia Bielefeld.

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