Kruse helps Bremen beat Hamburg 2-1 in Bundesliga derby
Former Germany striker Max Kruse scored one goal and set up another for Werder Bremen to beat Hamburger SV 2-1 in the Bundesliga’s 105th northern derby on Sunday.
Hamburg, whose team bus was involved in an incident before the match, got off to a great start. Michael Gregoritsch headed in former Bremen player Aaron Hunt’s precise cross, just minutes after reserve goalkeeper Christian Mathenia denied Kruse at the other end.
Host Bremen pushed hard for an equalizer with Zlatko Junuzovic’s free kick striking the post before the goal came on a counterattack, four minutes before the break.
Fin Bartels volleyed Santiago Garcia’s cross into Kruse’s path and the Bremen forward headed his ninth goal of the season from close range.
Kruse set up Florian Kainz to claim the winner with 15 minutes remaining.
Both sides had been in good form before the derby, with Bremen unbeaten in eight games while Hamburg had four wins in its last six.
Bremen climbed to eighth, only two points off the European qualification places.
“We’re not looking anywhere else. We’re focused on the next opponent, and that’s called Ingolstadt,” Bremen coach Alexander Nouri said.
Hamburg finished the weekend just a point above the relegation zone.
The Hamburg team bus had a window broken, and green and white paint — Bremen’s team colors — thrown at it before the game. No one was injured but Hamburg coach Markus Gisdol criticized the attack, which came just days after the bomb attack on the Borussia Dortmund team bus on Tuesday.
“I find it very insensitive given the events of the last days,” Gisdol said.
Police were still investigating.
“We don’t need to make the thing bigger than it is,” Hamburg general manager Jens Todt said. “We didn’t let it affect us.”
DARMSTADT 2, SCHALKE 1
Jerome Gondorf scored in the third minute of injury time to save bottom club Darmstadt from the drop — at least for another day.
With relegation rivals Augsburg, Mainz and Wolfsburg all winning their games Saturday, Darmstadt needed a victory to avoid returning to the second division.
Mario Vrancic scored early for the home side, which was grateful to goalkeeper Michael Esser for saving Guido Burgstaller’s penalty in the second half.
But Spanish defender Coke headed in his first Bundesliga goal with 15 minutes remaining to leave Darmstadt on the brink.
Schalke finished the game with 10 men after Thilo Kehrer was sent off late, and Gondorf set off celebrations among home supporters when he had the final say.
A weakened Bayern Munich side was held to a 0-0 draw at 10-man Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, allowing second-placed Leipzig to reduce the gap at the top to eight points with five games remaining. Leipzig, founded in 2009 and playing its first Bundesliga season, is assured of finishing at least fourth for a Champions League playoff.
Hoffenheim and Borussia Dortmund kept pace in third and fourth, respectively.
2009 champion Wolfsburg eased its relegation fears with a 3-0 win over Ingolstadt, which remains in the relegation zone. Ingolstadt is four points behind Augsburg and Mainz.