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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 6, 2008

Schalke stay on course for Champions League spot

BERLIN, May 6 (Reuters) - Schalke 04 overpowered local rivals VfL Bochum 3-0 on Tuesday to strengthen their bid for a return to the Champions League next season.

Bayern Munich wrapped up the Bundesliga title on Sunday but the second and third Champions League places are still up for grabs.

Schalke started poorly away at Bochum but Gerald Asamoah put them ahead with a classic far-post header in the first half and Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic made the game safe midway through the second half. Marcelo Bordon headed in a late third.

The result takes Schalke, who reached the Champions League quarter-finals this year, up to second place on 58 points, with two matches to play.

Werder Bremen, third on 57, play a tricky game in hand away to fourth-placed Hamburg SV on Wednesday.

Second place in the Bundesliga gives direct entry to the Champions League, while third is enough for a place in the final qualifying round.

VfB Stuttgart hopes of snatching third were effectively ended when the outgoing champions lost 3-2 away to Borussia Dortmund in another of Tuesday's matches.

Dortmund moved ahead late in the first half when Tinga struck just inside the post.

Mario Gomez equalised 10 minutes after the break but two goals from Alexander Frei, the first a free kick, the second a tap-in, put Dortmund two clear.

Gomez struck his 18th league goal of the season with a few minutes to go but Dortmund held on.

Stuttgart stay fifth on 51 points, meaning the best they can now hope for is a UEFA Cup place.

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