Bundesliga, Week 17: Bayer Leverkusen Lose, Borussia Dortmund And Schalke Win Big

Bayern Munich will head into the holidays in first after a win on Friday. Schalke and Borussia Dortmund won to keep pace, while Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen fell.

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Schalke 04 Vs. Werder Bremen, 2011 Bundesliga: Königsblauen Go Third With Dominant 5-0 Win

Saturday did not feature Tim Weise's finest hour. Along with his defense, the Werder Bremen keeper had a shocker, while Raul and Schalke 04 were very good in a 5-0 shellacking. While Die Königsblauen played well everywhere on the pitch and their finishing was excellent, this was hardly a dominant performance that should have resulted in a five-goal win. Weise and the Werder defense were unbelievably poor, and didn't look like they were up for a battle for fourth place.

It took just 16 minutes for Raul to give Schalke the lead, and just another four minutes for him to double it. In both instances, Weise should have done much better. The first goal was a short-range finish after Klass-Jan Huntelaar hit the post with a shot following a corner kick and the second wasn't much different, with Wiese getting caught out of position on another close-range goal, again assisted by Huntelaar.

Werder didn't really threaten the Schalke goal for the rest of the half (or at any point in the game), and the teams walked into the locker room with Schalke leading 2-0. It took ten minutes for Schalke to start getting into the game in the second half, but when they finally did, they poured it on. Teemu Pukki just missed a shot following a counter in the 55th minute, and from that point on, it was all Schalke.

Raul completed his hat trick in the 63rd minute with a header, assisted by Christian Fuchs with a cross. Once again, Weise and the Werder defense were caught napping. Kyriakos Papadopoulos added one with a header in the 67th minute, nodding in a corner kick by Jose Manuel Jurado. Huntelaar completed the rout in the 70th minute, hitting a brilliant finish into the side netting from a narrow angle.

Werder are now off for the holiday break, while Schalke have a DFB-Pokal match in mid-week against Borussia Mönchengladbach.

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Bundesliga, Week 17, Saturday Scores: Bayer Leverkusen Fall Apart, Borussia Dortmund Win Easily

Bayer Leverkusen are widely expected to finish in the top four in the Bundesliga and make a return trip to the UEFA Champions League, but they looked nothing like a Champions League side in their Round 17 encounter with Nürnberg. At home, against a team in the drop zone, they completely fell apart in an embarrassing loss. Elsewhere, Borussia Dortmund looked like themselves in a big win.

Bayer Leverkusen 0-3 Nürnberg

What in the world happened here?!? Bayer had everyone healthy and all of the possession at home, while Nürnberg were missing the suspended Timothy Chandler. Daniel Didavi scored in the 9th minute for the visitors and Bayer never recovered. Jens Hegeler added another on a corner kick in the 22nd minute, and Tomas Pekhart sealed the win with a 73rd minute goal.

Hamburg SV 1-1 Augsburg

Talk about unlucky. Hamburg absolutely battered the Augsburg goal in this one and almost certainly deserved three points, but a combination of some bad luck and a great performance from Mohamed Amsif kept them from getting a win. Torsten Oehrl shocked the hosts with his 63rd minute goal, scoring on a rebound after a Tobias Werner shot was blocked. José Paolo Guerrero answered three minutes later with a header on a great set piece delivery by Dennis Aogo, but it would be HSV's only goal.

Freiburg 1-4 Borussia Dortmund

It was the Robert Lewandowski show in Dortmund, as the Polish international netted two goals and tallied an assist. Lucas Barrios, even after two fantastic seasons as the first choice center forward for Der BVB, is now very much a backup. The opener came just seven minutes in, with Lewandowski tapping in a goal after a great pass from Shinji Kagawa. Jan Rosenthal found a surprising goal for Freiburg in the 34th minute, but BVB took control in the second half with goals from Ilkay Gündogan, Kevin Grosskreutz and Lewandowski with his second.

Hoffenheim 1-1 Hertha Berlin

Sejad Salihovic scored an absolute stunner early for Hoffenheim and Hertha's Raffael was sent off in the 31st minute, but the home side still couldn't find a win as they absolutely threw away two points. Isaac Vorsah was sent off for Hoffenheim in the 63rd minute, putting what looked like a certain Hoffenheim win in doubt. In stoppage time, Roman Hubnik scored a heartbreaking equalizer for the visitors, grabbing them a massive point.

Wolfsburg 1-0 Stuttgart

Wolfsburg were absolutely abysmal against Werder Bremen last week, but Felix Magath's boys did well to recover this week. Their previously terrible defense shut out Stuttgart, with substitute Sebastian Polter scoring in the 74th minute to grab the win for his side. Wolfsburg are now well clear of the drop zone, while the points gap between Stuttgart and European places keeps growing.

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Schalke 04 Vs. Werder Bremen, 2011 Bundesliga, Week 17: The Beginning Of A Fourth Place Battle?

Schalke 04 and Werder Bremen will likely be battling for fourth place in the Bundesliga all season long

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Bayern Munich Vs. FC Koln, 2011 Bundesliga: Bayern Cruise Despite Ribery Red

An odd little game between Bayern Munich and FC Koln at the Allianz Arena was notable mainly for a ludicrous red card sustained by Franck Ribery in the first half. With the hosts dominating against a Koln side who could barely get out of their own half, the last thing Bayern needed to do was go down to ten men, but that's exactly what happened when Ribery failed to get on the end of a cross and started a bit of a tiff with centre half Henrique Sereno. Both were booked, but within ten seconds of being shown the yellow card the Bayern winger was back in Sereno's face, eventually grabbing the Portuguese defender by the neck. 

It was a ludicrous gesture by Ribery, and the France star had to go, earning himself the dubious distinction ofbecoming one of the few players to have ever picked up a pair of yellow cards in less than a minute. Not that the sending-off hurt the hosts overly much, of course - Koln were still looking thoroughly incompetent apart from an isolated Lukas Podolski, and they could only hold Bayern at bay for so long before they finally cracked.

The home side could basically keep applying pressure until their mistake-prone visitors did something calamitously dumb, and that's exactly what happened in the 48th minute, when an awful pass out of the back by Pedro Geromel left Thomas Mueller free down the right. With Mario Gomez open in the centre, the Germany international simply slipped the targetman the ball for a tap-in to make it 1-0. 

Down by a goal, Koln's miserable play meant that the visitors had no hope whatsoever of getting back into the match despite their numerical advantage. Before too long it was 2-0, with substitute David Alaba taking advantage of ludicrously poor corner kick defence to blast past poor Michael Rensing from two yards out. Toni Kroos added some gloss to an impressive victory with a clipped finish as the clock was running down.

With the 3-0 win, Bayern have ensured that they'll be top of the table come Christmas. Time for the Borussias to reply.

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Bayern Munich Vs. FC Köln, 2011 Bundesliga, Week 17: It's The Lukas Podolski Show!

The Lukas Podolski show rolls into Munich, where FC Köln will face off against his old club, Bayern Munich.

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