Bundesliga Roundup, Mar. 14

Stefan Kiessling scored twice as Bayer Leverkusen rebounded from

its first defeat of the season with a 4-2 home victory over Hamburg

on Sunday.

A week after losing 3-2 at Nuremberg, Kiessling found the net

in each half, either side of an Eren Derdiyok strike before Gonzalo

Castro added a late fourth to keep Leverkusen in the running for

the Bundesliga title.

Jupp Heynckes’s team moved on to 53 points in third place,

one point behind Schalke and three behind leader Bayern Munich

after 26 rounds.

“This was an important game for us after the other two teams

(Bayern Munich and Schalke) had won. It was also important to keep

some space from the teams behind us,” Heynckes said.

“It’s normal that you lose a game after 25 games. But we

showed an excellent reaction. And they were rewarded today.”

The victory also followed a dip in form in which Leverkusen

had won just once in four games.

“This was a really big game for us to perform well in, having

not played well in the last couple of weeks,” Leverkusen keeper

Rene Adler said.

Kiessling opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, running onto

a long pass from Tranquillo Barnetta and out-pacing two Hamburg

defenders before beating keeper Frank Rost.

Hamburg scored a fortuitous equaliser in the 33rd minute

after Leverkusen defender Sami Hyypia and Adler collided as they

tried to intercept a high pass to the edge of the area. The ball

ran free to Hamburg playmaker Ze Roberto, who volleyed over Adler

into an empty net.

Leverkusen regained the lead 10 minutes into the second half

when Derdiyok headed home a cross from Daniel Schwaab and Kiessling

nodded home seven minutes later after a cross from Renato Augusto.

David Rozehnal pulled a goal back for Hamburg in the 83rd

minute, but Castro made sure of the points with Leverkusen’s fourth

just a minute later.

Kiessling’s goals left him clear at the top of the Bundesliga

scorers’ standings with 16 goals.

Hamburg remained in fifth place on 43 points, one more than

Werder Bremen, which beat Hoffenheim 1-0 away earlier on Sunday

thanks to a late winner from Claudio Pizarro.

It was a game of few chances as both teams were without some

of their more creative players, a patient Bremen side notably

missing German international Mesut Oezil in its attempt to prise

open a robust Hoffenheim defense.

Bremen finally made the breakthrough with nine minutes left

when Daniel Jensen sent a long high pass over the Hoffenheim

defense for Pizarro, who fired a looping shot over Hoffenheim

keeper Timo Hildebrand.

“We didn’t see a lot of chances,” said Bremen coach Thomas

Schaaf, whose side drew 1-1 on Thursday at Valencia in the Europa

League. “You could see that the game on Thursday affected us.

“But we were disciplined, especially in defense. And Claudio

is so experienced, he can decide games like that.”

Hoffenheim, which has collected just one victory in its last

eight home games, is 11th with 32 points.