Cologne - 1. FC Köln contined their excellent record on the road by beating FC Schalke 04, while SV Werder Bremen and SC Freiburg could only manage draws on Matchday 15.
FC Schalke 04 1-2 1. FC Köln
bundesliga.com rounds up Saturday's action...
FC Schalke 04 suffered a fifth defeat of the season as 1. FC Köln ran out deserved 2-1 winners at the Veltins Arena.
The hosts dominated the opening 45 minutes but failed to convert any of their chances, before Anthony Ujah punished them a minute after the restart. Matthias Lehmann doubled the lead from the penalty spot halfway through the second period, and although Leroy Sane reduced the deficit late on, the visitors held on.
For the first time this season, Schalke opted for an unchanged starting line-up, testament to their 4-0 win in Stuttgart, and the hosts dominated the opening 45 minutes. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting forced Timo Horn into action in the ninth minute, while Atsuto Uchida was prominent in every attacking move. The closest Roberto Di Matteo’s side came was a Max Meyer shot in the 26th minute, which deflected just wide of the target. For their part, Köln lacked ideas and went into the break without a single shot to their name.
Within a minute of the restart, the visitors changed that statistic, as well as the scoreline. Benedikt Höwedes lost the ball on the edge of the box and Anthony Ujah capitalised, firing home smartly to give Peter Stöger’s men the lead. The following 20 minutes saw Di Matteo’s troops work hard but create little as promising as their first-half chances, and they were punished when Höwedes brought down Pawel Olkowski in the box in the 67th minute. Lehmann converted the resultant penalty powerfully and despite Sane's first Bundesliga goal five minutes from time, the Billy Goats held on to take all three points.
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SV Werder Bremen 3-3 Hannover 96
A thrilling northern derby between SC Werder Bremen and Hannover 96 ended 3-3 at the Weser-Stadion.
Lars Stindl gave Hannover an early lead before Zlatko Junuzovic’s free-kick levelled proceedings at the break. Melvyn Lorenzen netted after the restart, only for Joselu and Hiroshi Kiyotake to put the visitors 3-2 in front. An excellent late finish from Davie Selke, however, secured Bremen a vital point.
An unchanged Hannover side looking to end a run of three consecutive defeats began dominantly in Bremen and they were a goal up after 12 minutes, when good work from Joselu set Stindl up to slot home at the back post. Hannover allowed Bremen back into the game, however, and Junuzovic hit the post with a free-kick in the 18th minute. Clemens Fritz was forced to clear a Stindl effort off the line, before the hosts went up the other end and equalised, Junuzovic bending another set piece masterfully into the corner to send the sides into the break on level terms.
Viktor Skripnik’s side turned the game on its head within ten minutes of the start of the second half. Lorenzen picked up the ball on the left flank before cutting onto his right foot inside the box and firing home. The hosts’ advantage lasted but seven minutes, though, as Kiyotake brilliantly teed up Joselu. The goal infused Korkut's men with a desire to find a third, which they duly did when the Japanese's delivery evaded everyone en route to the bottom corner. Theodor Gebre Selassie had a gilt-edged chance to equalise, before Selke arrived late into the box in the 88th minute to earn the hosts a valuable draw.
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SC Freiburg 0-0 Hamburger SV
SC Freiburg and Hamburger SV took a point each from their relegation battle at the Schwarzwald-Stadion on Saturday afternoon.
Freiburg went closest to breaking the deadlock within two minutes when they were awarded a penalty, but Jaroslav Drobny came to Hamburg's rescue to deny Vladimir Darida from the spot. The closest the visitors came to scoring was when Nicolai Müller's deflected cross hit the woodwork, but a goalless draw proved to be a fair result in the Black Forest.
Pure relegation scrap
Freiburg could not have wished for a better start to the game when Felix Klaus was caught by Ronny Marcos inside the penalty area, giving the hosts their sixth spot-kick of the season - more than any other side. Darida, who had scored his last four penalties this term, stepped up to the spot, but Drobny made a fine save.
Typical of a relegation battle, the game was characterised by plenty of tackles, both foul and fair, with the action consigned to the central third of the field, With defences on top, it looked likely that the first mistake would decide the game and Freiburg were lucky when Müller's cross was deflected onto the crossbar by Marc-Oliver Kempf with Roman Bürki beaten. It was the closest side came to scoring, the two strugglers were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.
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