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By ESPN Staff

Germany: Gomez nets four to punish Wolfsburg

Mario Gomez scored four to inspire Stuttgart to a 4-1 victory over Bundesliga leaders Wolfsburg this afternoon to blow the title race wide open.

The Germany striker opened the scoring inside the opening minute and added a second in the 20th minute before Edin Dzeko pulled one back before the break.

Two more from Gomez, though - his 22nd and 23rd of the season - ended Wolfsburg's hopes of a comeback and boosted Stuttgart's hopes of repeating their late surge to the title from two years ago.

There are now just two points separating the top four sides - Wolfsburg, second-placed Bayern Munich, Hertha Berlin in third and Stuttgart in fourth - with three games of the season left.

Bayern moved level on points with the Wolves despite making hard work of their 3-1 win at Energie Cottbus, who remain in the bottom three on goal difference.

Jose Sosa's opener was cancelled out by Ivica Iliev two minutes before the break, but two goals in the space of four minutes from Martin Demichelis and Lukas Podolski midway through the second half gave Bayern the points.

It could even have been more for Bayern had Franck Ribery not seen his late penalty saved.

Hertha Berlin are a point off the pace after cruising to a 2-0 home win over struggling Bochum.

Marko Pantelic put the capital club ahead in the 39th minute and Rafael doubled their advantage five minutes after the break.

Borussia Dortmund are firmly in the hunt for a Europa League place at the least after they took basement boys Karlsruhe to the cleaners.

Goals from Jakub Blaszczykowski, Nuri Sahin, Felipe Santana and Alexander Frei sealed a 4-0 win which moved Dortmund up to fifth place - level on points with Hamburg, and just five points off top spot.

Jurgen Klopp's side travel to Wolfsburg on Tuesday.

Umit Korkmaz cancelled out Arnold Bruggink's early goal to earn Hannover a 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt, while Hoffenheim returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Cologne.

Sejad Salihovic and Demba Ba were on target in the second half for Ralf Rangnick's men, while Cologne had Youssouf Mohamad sent off in the 78th minute.

Yesterday, Bayer Leverkusen drew 2-2 with Arminia Bielefeld, while tomorrow Hamburg face Werder Bremen looking to gain revenge for their UEFA Cup and DFB-Pokal semi-final defeats to their north German rivals and second-bottom Borussia Monchengladbach take on Schalke.

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