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Football

Petrov hits four in Wolfsburg win


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Petrov scored all four goals to keep Wolfsburg top of the Bundesliga

BERLIN, Germany -- Bulgarian striker Martin Petrov scored all four goals as Wolfsburg rallied from a two-goal deficit to stay top the Bundesliga with a 4-3 win over Mainz.

Schalke jumped to second with a fifth win in a row, beating Stuttgart 3-2 after scoring twice in the first two minutes.

Meanwhile, 10-man Bayern Munich lost 2-0 to Borussia Moenchengladbach to drop two places to fifth.

Champions Werder Bremen came from behind to draw 1-1 with rivals Hamburg, while Hannover moved up from seventh to fourth with their fifth straight victory, a 3-0 rout of Bochum.

In other action, Borussia Dortmund beat Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 and Hertha Berlin came away with a 3-1 victory in Freiburg.

After 11 matches, Wolfsburg have 24 points and a three-point lead over Schalke. Stuttgart, Hannover and Bayern all have 20, while Bremen are behind on 19 points.

Mainz went ahead in the 15th minute in Wolfsburg through Mathias Abel after Conor Casey collided with Wolfsburg goalkeeper Simon Jentzsch, who fumbled the ball.

American international Casey then gave Mainz a two-goal cushion by driving in a right-foot shot form the edge of the area that bounced off the post into the net for his first Bundesliga goal.

With the first-half about to end, Petrov converted a penalty given after Mainz goalkeeper Dimo Wache was judged to have brought down Juan Menseguez.

Petrov then equalized two minutes into first-half injury time, connecting a pass from Thomas Brdaric at the far post.

Just before the hour, Juergen Kramny handled the ball on the line, drawing a red card and conceding a penalty. Petrov converted it and then notched his fourth minutes later with a left-foot volley.

But 10-men Mainz did not surrender and substitute Christoph Babatz drove the ball past the Wolfsburg wall from a free kick in the 75th.

Schalke extended their winning streak under new coach Ralf Rangnick by stunning Stuttgart with two goals inside the opening two minutes.

Ailton scored just 40 seconds in, from a Lincoln through pass, and a minute later Levan Kobiashvili added the second after a poor Stuttgart clearance.

The game appeared over when Lincoln made it 3-0 in the 25th.

But then Stuttgart struck with two goals in two minutes. Zvonimir Soldo found the net in a goalmouth melee after a corner and Imre Szabics further closed the gap in the 32nd.

Stuttgart could not complete the comeback though and Matthias Sammer's team lost their third straight match, after going undefeated for the first eight matches.

Bayern Munich again produced a poor performance, as Moenchengladbach gave new coach Horst Koeppel a winning start. Koeppel, previously coach of the youth team, was promoted after Holger Fach's dismissal three days ago.

In the 50th minute, burly defender Marcelo Pletsch rose above the Bayern defense to meet an Oliver Neuville cross and with Oliver Kahn failing to come out, headed into the net.

Bayern lost defender Lucio in the 55th, who was sent off after fouling and then kicking Vaclav Sverkos, and in the 84th minute Joris van Hout headed past Kahn for Moenchengladbach's second goal, with Neuville again supplying the cross.

In Bremen, Hamburg went ahead after 22 minutes with a strange goal. Johan Micoud tried to head back to his defense but instead opened the path for Emile Mpenza, who rounded goalkeeper Andreas Reinke, far off his line. Mpenza then crossed for David Jarolim to head into the empty net.

Ivan Klasnic struck Hamburg's post in the 40th as Bremen pressed ahead in search of an equalizer. But it didn't come until the 75th, when defender Christian Schulz won a ball at the far post and hit it into net with the top of his boot.

Bremen dominated the second half and wasted two late chances.

Borussia Dortmund, trying to salvage a season sourced by financial problems and poor results, claimed their second straight win.

Ewerthon scored his sixth goal of the season to put Dortmund ahead in the 41st, picking up a defense-splitting pass from Jan Koller.

Bernd Schneider hit Dortmund's post in the 75th but Leverkusen lost central defender Jens Nowotny in the closing minutes. Nowotny was sent off for tripping Dede after being outpaced by the Dortmund midfielder.

Hannover took the lead in the 16th through Thomas Christiansen and Daniel Stendel made it 2-0 in the 64th. Leandro completed the victory in the 88th.

In Freiburg, Ellery Cairo fired the home team ahead in the 25th, but Rafael Nando replied for Hertha Berlin in the 36th and Gilberto, called up for the Brazil national squad earlier in the week, got the second for the visitors in the 50th off a pass from Marcelinho.

Marcelinho had a penalty kick saved by Freiburg goalkeeper Richard Golz 10 minutes later, but the Brazilian provided another assist minutes later, allowing defender Arne Friedrich to head in Berlin's third.

With 10 minutes remaining in the game, Berlin's Alexander Madlung was sent off for elbowing.


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