Soccer

Stuttgart, Hamburg lose ground in battle in the Bundesliga

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The Canadian Press
3/26/2014 5:25:00 PM
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FRANKFURT, Germany -- Former Bundesliga champion Stuttgart fell into the relegation zone on Wednesday by losing 2-0 at Nuremberg, and Hamburg also came closer to dropping into second division by drawing 1-1 at home to Freiburg on Wednesday.

One day after Bayern Munich clinched its 24th league title, two storied clubs found themselves facing an uphill battle to avoid being demoted.

Nuremberg lifted itself from the relegation zone with its win after a brace by Josip Drmic. Freiburg stayed in 15th place, two points ahead of Hamburg, another former champion and the only club never to be relegated from the Bundesliga. A 16th-place finish means a playoff against a second-division team for a place in the top division.

Stuttgart and Hamburg are three points above bottom Eintracht Braunschweig.

Bayer Leverkusen won 3-1 in Augsburg to end a nine-game run without a victory in all competitions, Eintracht Frankfurt edged Borussia Moenchengladbach 1-0 and Hoffenheim edged 10-man Hannover 3-1.

Stuttgart won the last of its three championships in 2007 but the club is now two points from safety, just like Hamburg. Wednesday's loss hurt even more because it came against a direct rival in the battle against relegation.

Nuremberg ended a four-match losing streak, with Drmic bringing his season total to 15 goals by scoring either side of halftime.

Striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga returned after missing three games through injury to salvage one point for Hamburg, which fell behind in the 50th through a goal by Vladimir Darida. But Lassoga notched the equalizer five minutes later.

Hoffenheim and Frankfurt all but made sure of avoiding demotion.

Hannover lost Manuel Schmiedebach to a red card in the 75th but by then Hoffenheim was already 2-1 up and Sebastian Rudy secured the victory in injury time. Leon Andreasen put Hannover ahead but Eugen Polanski and Anthony Modeste then scored for Hoffenheim.

Striker Joselu scored a first-half goal for Frankfurt's second consecutive victory.

Leverkusen had lost five of its last six in the Bundesliga but Stefan Kiessling scored his 13th goal of the season to put his team ahead, Augsburg pulled one back through Tobias Werner, but Son Heung-min and Emre Can scored late in the match to secure Leverkusen's win.

Leverkusen strengthened its grip on fourth place and has three points more than Wolfsburg in fifth.

Rafael van der Vaart  (Photo: Oliver Hardt/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Oliver Hardt/Getty Images)
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