The heat on Germany’s teams at the bottom of the table has been turned up a notch with Freiburg and Stuttgart, the bottom-two in the league, picking up home wins respectively.
Two goals in two minutes from Daniel Ginczek powered Stuttgart to a 3-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt, to end a run of nine matches without a win for a club who have had their worst season in their Bundesliga history.
In Freiburg, Jonathan Schmid struck with 19 minutes to play to end Freiburg’s 405-minute run without a goal in the top-flight as they moved out of the relegation zone.
Stuttgart’s coach Huub Stevens went into this game on Matchday 25 as one of three coaches who could face the axe should they fail to pick up a positive result. After a goalless first half, followed by Haris Seferovic’s 8th goal of the season, the odds were stacked against the Swabians who had scored just six goals at home all campaign.
But Frankfurt have lost 21 points from a leading position this season – and a quick-fire double soon turned the game on its head. Ginczek broke his season drought with his stomach before adding a second a few minutes later to add a rare sense of euphoria around the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
With 10 minutes left, Stuttgart added some shine, and comfort, to the afternoon when Alexandru Maxim slid into the box and finished off a fine move.
Meanwhile, Christian Streich’s rescue-job of Freiburg when he took the managerial post was bolstered by a 1-0 win over Augsburg.
Three years on, Streich’s men secured a 2-0 win over the Bavarians with two late efforts from Schmid and Petersen.
Despite Immanuel Höhn seeing a header cleared off the line in the first-half, Schmid tucked home from close range with 11 minutes to play. Two substitutes – Vladimir Darida and Nils Petersen – combined to add the second later on and pick up Freiburg’s first win in four games.
Borussia Dortmund rallied after the break to beat Hannover 3-2 with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bagging a double leaving Tayfun Korkut’s position under threat.
Hannover have slipped from mid-table to 14th with just one win in their last 14 league games and with teams at the bottom closing the gap, appear to be a main contender for the drop.
On 19 minutes, Aubameyang finished off a fine Dortmund counterattack started by Blaszczykowski on the right-flank to put the visitors in front.
The Polish winger, making his first start of the season, drifted off the touchline, linked with Marco Reus, the striker combining with Aubameyang who fired low into the corner.
Hannover equalized on 31 minutes through attacking-midfielder Lars Stindl who finished Leonardo Bittencourt’s low cutback.
The match was defined by one enthralling 10-minute period in the second half. On 53 minutes, Hummels cleared Joselu’s header off the line as the home side continued their dominance into the second half.
Having failed to take the lead, Korkut saw his side cut in numbers when former Dortmund player Bittencourt was shown his second yellow card for a late challenge on Sebastian Kehl. Just as the Reds were adjusting to the numerical change, Dortmund struck with another sucker punch on the counter with Shinji Kagawa scoring.
On top of that, the speed of Dortmund’s counterattacks devastated the home side just five minutes later. Kagawa turned provider, curling in a splendid outside-of-the-boot cross for the diving header of the Gabon striker who made it 12 for the campaign.
Hannover piled on the pressure and there was a sense of déjà vu around the last few minutes. Stindl struck for a second time with a brilliant finish that made the final few minutes nerve-wracking for Jürgen Klopp’s men.
Elsewhere, Paderborn, who now drops into second-bottom, couldn’t break down the resolve of ten-man Hoffenheim with the match ending goalless.
There was late drama in Cologne between 1.FC Köln and Werder Bremen with Matthias Lehmann scoring an 86th minute spot-kick to secure a point for the hosts who now look to be safe from the relegation dogfight.
Bremen have become set-piece specialists under Viktor Skripnik with Davie Selkie’s 6th goal of the season the team’s 19th strike from a dead-ball situation this season – the highest number of all Bundesliga clubs.
But Bremen couldn’t hold out under pressure from the home side that racked up a rare 4-0 win last Sunday. Lehmann tucked home from the spot to put a dent in Bremen’s ambitions of securing a place in next season’s Europa League.
Bayer Leverkusen jumped into third for 24 hours and extended their cushion in fourth to six points with a 1-0 win over Schalke in Saturday’s late encounter.
Roger Schmidt’s men racked up a sixth clean sheet in seven matches in all competitions as Schalke’s hangover from their splendid exploits in Madrid continued for another week.
Germany international Karim Bellarabi struck his 11th of the season on 35 minutes with a fabulous finish from a tight angle.
Schalke’s disappointment was slightly eased by the return of Peruvian Jefferson Farfan who returned to the team after a 344-day lay off.