High-riding Bayern extend lead as Leverkusen win at last

BERLIN: Bayern Munich opened up a ten-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga by notching up a 2-0 home win over Nuremberg yesterday while their closest title rivals Borussia Dortmund were held by Schalke 04. 

Meanwhile, crisis club Bayer Leverkusen finally won a match, their come-from-behind 2-1 win at Hanover lifting them out of the bottom three. 

Bayern's first goal came from a Bixente Lizarazu header after 17 minutes following good work from Mehmet Scholl. 

Brazilian striker Giovane Elber's left-foot shot just before the hour sealed coach Ottmar Hitzfeld's 100th victory at the club. 

Dortmund meanwhile went two goals behind in the space of three minutes against Schalke after Belgian internationals Sven Vermant and Nico van Kerckhoven struck in the 13th and 16th minutes. 

Giant Czech forward Jan Koller pulled a goal back with a trademark 52nd-minute header from Dede's cross and six minutes later another Brazilian, Ewerthon, grabbed the equaliser. 

But with the match ending 2-2, Matthias Sammer's side moved to 40 points to Bayern's 50. Schalke meanwhile move up to third, equal on 36 points with Stuttgart, who play Borussia Monchengladbach on Sunday. 

Leverkusen sacked Klaus Toppmoller as coach after slipping into relegation trouble but new coach Thomas Horster achieved his first victory thanks to goals from two of their lesser-known players. 

Romanian veteran Gheorghe Popescu put Hanover ahead after 14 minutes but Sebastian Schoof and Jan Simak struck in the 80th and final minute to move last year's Champions League finalists up to fifth from bottom. – AFP 

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