FREIBURG IM BREISGAU, GERMANY - OCTOBER 16: Ivo Illcevic (L) of Hamburg celebrates scoring the 2nd team goal with his team mate Heung Min Son during the Bundesliga match between SC Freiburg and Hamburger SV at badenova Stadium on October 16, 2011 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

German Bundesliga, Week 9: Hamburg Beat Freiburg 2-1, Hannover Downed By Koln

Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich both earned important and impressive victories at the top of the table. Meanwhile, relegation-threatened Hamburg survived a late scare at Freiberg to earn 3 points.

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FC Koln Vs. Hannover 96, 2011 Bundesliga: Koln Earn 2-0 Win Thanks To Lukas Podolski Brace

Hannover had every hope of ending Sunday's match against FC Koln in second place in the Bundesliga, four points back of Bayern Munich. Instead, they find themselves in seventh after a 2-0 loss thanks to a Lukas Podolski brace, strong play by the hosts throughout and a series of unfortunate refereeing decisions.

The game was 25 minutes old when Podolski first struck, hammering a free kick past poor Ron-Robert Zieler, and while Hannover had plenty of time on the ball and plenty of shooting opportunities after that, they never seemed quite as incisive as their opponents but for a short spell in the second half. Said spell, however, should certainly have yielded the equaliser. Sergio Pinto latched onto a cutback and slid a shot past Michael Rensing only to have his goal bizarrely disallowed for offside thanks to the other Mohammed Abdellaoue straying offside fifteen yards from the play. Then they were denied what looked like a clear-cut penalty when a long-range free kick was handled by the Koln wall.

And to add injury to more injury, Podolski took it upon himself to make things worse for the visitors, cutting in from the corner, beating his man, and firing an unstoppable rocket past Zieler from an improbably angle to wrap up the win. Not a good day for Hannover at all.

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SC Freiburg Vs. Hamburg SV, 2011 Bundesliga: Visitors Hold On For Win

If struggling Hamburg are going to retain their spot in the Bundesliga, this is the sort of game they have to win. Freiburg have virtually matched their terrible start, coming into the game in 17th place and just three points ahead of the stricken Rothosem, and even for Hamburg a trip to the Dreisamstadion looked like an opportunity to pick up three points.

Things started well for the visitors, who went ahead after a scramble in the box following a corner kick, Heung-Min Son heading home from close range. Hamburg had threatened even before their opener, hitting the crossbar through a Mladen Petric free kick. Freiburg came back into the game, however, dominating the second half of the opening period and getting a deserved equaliser through Papiss Demba Cisse shortly after the restart.

Freiburg were probably looking slightly more likely to get the winner, too, but it was the visitors who struck again, Ivo Ilicevic picking up a pass from Gokhan Tore and slotting home past Oliver Baumann for the winner. It almost wasn't, however - in the 80th minute Jeffrey Bruma conceded a penalty for a foul on Stefan Reisinger, but Cisse missed the spot kick and Freiburg's last chance was gone.

For Hamburg, it's job done and an important three points, but the hosts will be to get any separation between themselves and the relegation zone.

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Schalke 04 Vs. Kaiserslautern, 2011 Bundesliga: Full Time, Dorge Kouemaha Heads FCK To Victory

Dorge Kouemaha headed in a cross from Pierre de Wit in the 72nd minute to give 10-man Kaiserslautern a 2-1 upset in Gelsenkirchen against 10-man Schalke. 

Schalke were put against it early when goalkeeper Ralf Fährman was shown a red card for a foul in the penalty area on Kouemaha just 28 minutes into the match. His backup Lars Unnerstall came on for Julian Draxler. His first responsibility was pulling the ball out of the back of net when Christian Tiffert converted the penalty to give his side the 1-0 lead after only half an hour.

Schalke continued to attack and even looked better at times while down a man. They were rewarded at the hour mark when Kaiserslautern defender Rodnei was shown a red card for a foul on Jose Manuel Jurado. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar stepped up and scored the penalty for his 8th goal of the season to level the match at 1. 

With just 20 minutes left, Pierre de Wit drew two defenders before feeding a perfect cross to Kouemaha who headed the visits to their first road victory of the season. The three points pull Kaiserslautern out of the relegation zone.

For Schalke, the loss will come as a crushing blow when the opportunity was there to leap Werder Bremen, Stuttgart, Borussia Mönchengladbach, and Borussia Dortmund into second place.

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German Bundesliga, Week 9: Saturday Morning Wrap: Bayern Munich Dominate Hertha Berlin

FC Bayern Munich 4 - 0 Hertha BSC Berlin

Bayern continued their domination throughout the entire second half. The only goal in the second half came from a Mario Gomez penalty after Franck Ribery was fouled in the area. Hertha never threatened Manuel Neuer in the second half. Neuer and the Bayern defense have now gone over 1,110 minutes without conceding a goal in all competitions having scored 32 goals and conceding 0. Holger Badstuber continues to get better and better anchoring the defense. 

1. FSV Mainz 05 1 - 0 FC Augsburg

Mainz continued to attack but were never able to break through against Augsburg goalkeeper Simon Jentzsch. The match seemed destined for a scoreless draw, but with just minutes remaining Daniel Brinkmann played a long ball over the top to Sascha Mölders who broke behind the Mainz defense. With only the keeper to beat, Mölders saw his shot clang off of the post. Axel Bellinghausen was first to the rebound however and was felled by defender Bo Svensson drawing the penalty. Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker put the spot kick past Heinz Müller to give Augsburg their first ever win in the Bundesliga.

VfB Stuttgart 2 - 0 1899 Hoffenheim

The talented Shinji Okazaki opened the scoring just minutes after halftime beating the offside trap before finishing the far corner. Pavel Pogrebnyak drew and scored a penalty in the 77th minute that basically killed off the game. Hoffenheim could never get their offense going today, but they did see the return of Vedad Ibisevic who came on in the second half as a substitute for Danny Williams.

VfL Wolfsburg 2 - 1 1. FC Nürnberg

Nürnberg's Christian Eigler pulled the visitors level with Wolfsburg in the 70th minute. The goal was costly for Nürnberg however as Eigler suffered a ankle injury on a rough tackle on his shot. He was unable to put any pressure on his leg and had to be carried off. Ashkan Dejagah drew a penalty on Nürnberg defender Mike Frantz which was converted by Mario Mandzukic to complete his brace and give Wolfsburg the win.

Borussia Mönchengladbach 2 - 2 Bayer 04 Leverkusen

After a slow first half, things kicked in the 65th minute when Marco Reus broke through and brought Gladbach level with their visitors. Leverkusen's Gonzalo Castro was shown a red card minutes left after insulting the assistant referee. Gladbach took advantage minutes later through Patrick Herrmann. Just win it seemed like the Foals were going to come away victors, 10-men Leverkusen struck back through Andre Schürrle. The winger cut in to his right and placed his shot perfectly in the top corner out of the reach of a diving Marc-André ter Stegen.

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German Bundesliga: Saturday Morning Halftime Update: Bayern Munich Dominating Hertha Berlin

FC Bayern Munich vs Hertha BSC Berlin

Bayern Munich scored early and often against Hertha Berlin. Mario Gomez, Franck Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger put the hosts up 3-0 after only 13 minutes. Since that time Bayern has had several opportunities to add to their lead, but Hertha's defense and just bad shooting have prevented the tally from rising. It's been all FC Hollywood in the first half. For a majority of the first half Bayern played keep away from the visitors. The "all-important" possession statistic will likely be about 70-30% in favor of Bayern. Score: Bayern Munich 3 - 0 Hertha Berlin

1. FSV Mainz 05 vs FC Augsburg

Mainz supporters will feel that they were on the end of an incorrect offside call and rightly so. Nicolai Müller scored a goal, but the assistant referee flagged Mainz forward Maxim Choupo-Moting for offside. Replays showed that Choupo-Moting was in an offside position, but the ball was played behind him to Müller. It's an unfortunate decision the home side who need this "sure thing" victory of Augsburg at home. Score: Mainz 05 0 - 0 Augsburg

VfB Stuttgart vs 1899 Hoffenheim

A pretty even match in Stuttgart with both sides not afraid to throw numbers forward in attack. It's still scoreless. Score: Stuttgart 0 - 0 Hoffenheim

VfL Wolfsburg vs 1. FC Nürnberg

Mario Mandzukic with a tidy finish to give Wolfsburg the lead at home against Nürnberg. Magath should be happy. No fines today for his players, right? Score: Wolfsburg 1 - 0 Nürnberg

Borussia Mönchengladbach vs Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Stefan Reinartz scored his first goal of the campaign on a corner kick to put Leverkusen up over Gladbach. Michal Kadlec's corner kick was flicked on by Michael Ballack to the back post where Reinartz touched it in the net. Marco Reus has been all over the field for Gladbach as always, but it hasn't always been great play. His final touch has eluded him at times, and he'll need to find it if Gladbach is going to find their way back. Score: Borussia Mönchengladbach 0 - 1 Bayer Leverkusen

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Werder Bremen Vs. Borussia Dortmund, 2011 Bundesliga: Dortmund Win 2-0 Despite Home Dominance

Borussia Dortmund haven't had much historical success against Werder Bremen at the Weserstadion, but that didn't matter tonight - the visitors twice twice against the run of play, absorbed a red card, and walked away from an entertaining match with all three points.

It didn't look as though the defending champions, who had won just 6 of 43 league matches in Bremen before today, were going to have much luck either. Apart from the occasional flutter forward by Mario Goetze, the hosts were having by far the better of things, with Claudio Pizarro in particular a constant threat to Roman Weidenfeller's goal. Bremen had the advantage in midfield, and it showed.

But no matter how much they dominated, Bremen couldn't score, and that led to them pushing more and more bodies forward, giving Dortmund room to counterattack. Counterattack they did, and Ivan Perisic was at the end of one of those rare forays into the home half in the 42nd minute, his left-shooted shot crashing past Sebastian Mielitz and into the back of the net to make it 1-0. Just five minutes beforehand, Perisic had received a yellow card for a bad sliding tackle on Aaron Hunt, so it was good to see the sublime side of the Croatian midfielder rather than the vicious.

And then, two minutes after halftime, the vicious reappeared. Sokratis Papastathopoulos was straining to reach a pass when Perisic lunge, making minimal contact with the ball but cleaning out the Greek midfielder in the process with a nasty scissor tackle. A red card was inevitable, despite Perisic playing dead, and Dortmund's defensive duties (which looked like a pretty challenging task already) got a little bit harder.

A five minute spell in the second half rather summed up the match: Bremen had possession and were completely encamped in Dortmund's half. The hosts managed to weave a breakout on the left, and that ended with a shot towards Weidenfeller's goal by Lukas Schmitz. Said shot was deflected onto the crossbar, bounced onto the line and then cleared, and at the other end of the pitch Dortmund won and scored from a corner after a bicycle kick from Mats Humels was turned in by Patrick Owomoyela.

Yeah, it was that kind of day for Bremen. They were probably the better team on the night, but sometimes things just don't go your way. This was one of those times. Meanwhile, Dortmund go to second in the Bundesliga - it's a huge win for them as they try to chase down Bayern Munich for the top spot. Bayern, meanwhile, could go six points clear with a win this weekend.

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Werder Bremen Vs. Borussia Dortmund, 2011 Bundesliga: Lineups

Werder Bremen are perfect so far at home, but they face a stern challenge with defending champions Borussia Dortmund coming to the Weserstadion. Dortmund are well behind Bremen in the table, but some of their performances of late have been superb, and everyone knows what they're capable of when clicking. Bremen aren't exactly pushovers either, however - this should be a superb test of each team's credentials to challenge early leaders Bayern Munich.

Werder Bremen (4-4-2 diamond): Sebastian Mielitz; Andreas Wolf, Naldo, Lukas Schmitz, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Philipp Bargfrede, Marko Marin, Aaron Hunt, Clemens Fritz; Markus Rosenburg, Claudio Pizarro.

Substitutes: Christian Vander, Sandro Wagner, Mehmet Ekici, Sebastian Prodl, Aleksandar Ignjovski, Lennart Thy, Wesley.

Borussia Dortmund (4-2-3-1): Roman Weidenfeller; Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic, Chris Lowe, Patrick Owomoyela; Ilkay Gundogan, Sven Bender; Ivan Perisic, Kevin Grosskreutz, Mario Goetze; Robert Lewandowski.

Substitutes: Felipe Santana, Sebastian Kehl, Shinji Kagawa, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Mitchell Langerak, Lucas Barrios, Moritz Leitner.

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