Wolfsburg's European hopes hit in loss to Gladbach
SINSHEIM, Germany (AP) — Hoffenheim and Stuttgart boosted their chances of avoiding relegation from the Bundesliga on Sunday with wins over teams in similar jeopardy.
American coach Pellegrino Matarazzo had a tough start at Hoffenheim with five straight losses after being appointed in February but he's begun to turn that around and Sunday's 2-0 win over Schalke was the third victory in a row.
Alex Král turned a cross from Angeliño into his own net in the 22nd minute to gift Hoffenheim the lead but Schalke had plenty of chances, twice hitting the woodwork in the first half. Ihlas Bebou made it 2-0 from the penalty spot at the second attempt after his initial shot was saved but Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann was penalized for leaving his line too early.
Sebastian Hoeness continued his winning start as Stuttgart's new coach after surviving a tense finish in a 3-2 win over Bochum. Defensive errors made the difference as poor Bochum marking left Serhou Guirassy free to score Stuttgart's second goal off a low cross in the 60th and Josha Vagnoman scored the third soon after when goalkeeper Manuel Riemann misjudged a cross and left Vagnoman a free header at the far post. Riemann appeared to confront a fan after the game.
Hoeness' Stuttgart beat Nuremberg in the German Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday in his first game since replacing the fired Bruno Labbadia. Four different coaches have led Stuttgart this season including Matarazzo and caretaker Michael Wimmer.
Stuttgart rose from last place to 16th with the win over Bochum, which drops below Hoffenheim to 15th in the 18-team league. The two teams in the automatic relegation places are now Hertha Berlin and Schalke with seven games to go.
Earlier, Wolfsburg's chances of qualifying for European competition next season took a blow in a 2-0 loss to Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Wolfsburg had the ball in the net in the 10th minute but video review showed Omar Marmoush had been offside before he scored on a counter.
Nathan Ngoumou gave Gladbach the lead with his first Bundesliga goal after signing in August. The French winger took full advantage of his first start since January as he sidestepped defender Micky van de Ven and hit the ball low post goalkeeper Koen Casteels.
Ngoumou had a part in the second goal as his cross was headed on by Alassane Pléa and finished off by Marcus Thuram, who was left unmarked in front of goal to head in.
Wolfsburg could have risen to seventh with a win but stays ninth, with Gladbach one place behind. United States defender Joe Scally of Gladbach went off in the 76th. Coach Daniel Farke said Scally had an apparent muscle injury, German agency dpa reported.
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