Nürnberg win as Hertha fans turn on under-performing stars
RESULTS Fri Mar 12 FC Schalke 2-1 VfB Stuttgart Sat Mar 13 Borussia MÃ¢ÂÂgladbach 0-4 VfL Wolfsburg, VfL Bochum 1-4 Borussia Dortmund, FSV Mainz 1-0 FC KÃÂ¶ln, Hannover 96 2-1 Eintracht Frankfurt, Hertha BSC 1-2 FC NÃÂ¼rnberg, FC Bayern MÃÂ¼nchen 2-1 SC Freiburg Sun Mar 14 1899 Hoffenheim 0-1 Werder Bremen, Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 Hamburger SV.
Albert Bunjaku nodded NÃÂ¼rnberg back into Saturday's clash
After becoming the first team to beat Bayer Leverkusen this season, FC NÃÂ¼rnberg went into SaturdayÃ¢ÂÂs crunch match with Hertha Berlin knowing that a second consecutive win would all but banish the capital city club to relegation (highlights here).
And win it they did Ã¢ÂÂ just Ã¢ÂÂ with an injury time winner courtesy of Greek striker Angelos Charisteas, after Albert Bunjaku of Switzerland had headed the visitors level.
It was all a bit depressing, really, as not only were the Hertha fans preparing to riot inside the stadium, but The FundesligaÃ¢ÂÂs prediction of a 1-1 draw was looking perfect until the striker slotted home his first goal of the season and handed NÃÂ¼rnberg the three points.
Accepting that his team is as good as gone, Hertha manager Michael Preetz spoke frankly to the BundesligaÃ¢ÂÂs official website, stating Ã¢ÂÂWeÃ¢ÂÂre now already planning for life in the second division.Ã¢ÂÂ The proverbial fat lady, it would seem, has already ensured there is to be no final swansong on their fight to stay in the top league.
According to my estimations Hertha will be gone by the April 16. And even if they arenÃ¢ÂÂt gone, a quick peek at their final few fixtures tells you all you need to know about their chances of survival: their last three games are against Schalke, Bayer Leverkusen, and probable 2010 Champions, FC Bayern.
NÃÂ¼rnberg, on the other hand, are looking like they might actually stay up. Their next four fixtures throw up three home games Ã¢ÂÂ win those and they will surely be plying their trade once again in the 1. Bundesaliga next season.
So, those Hertha fans...
As if smashing-up advertising boards and ripping out and lobbing dugout seats onto the Olympia Stadion turf wasnÃ¢ÂÂt evidence enough of their discontent; around 150 of their, presumably mightily peeved, fans then took to the field themselves, armed with flagpoles, fixtures and fists, to set off on a trail of destruction that will surely have huge repercussions for their team.
Aside from the damage caused to the dugouts, advertising boards and fences, 25 fans are reported to have been arrested following the carnage, while four police officers are said to have been Ã¢ÂÂlightlyÃ¢ÂÂ injured.
"Not the chairs - anything but the chairs!"
Up at the business end of the table it was back to winning ways for Leverkusen.
A Stefan KieÃÂling brace took his goal tally to 16 for the season and helped them to a 4-2 win over Hamburger SV on Sunday, while wins for Schalke and Bayern MÃÂ¼nchen mean a tight top three is maintained.
Arjen Robben, arguably alongside Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney as the hottest players in Europe at the moment, scored another couple of goals to give league leaders FC Bayern a harder-than-expected 2-1 victory over SC Freiburg, and WolfsburgÃ¢ÂÂs Bosnian striker Dzeko also helped himself to two as they strolled to a 0-4 away win over Monchengladbach.
A Mainz victory over strugglers FC KÃÂ¶ln now means they are only five points off of a Europa League spot, while a Hannover win at home to Frankfurt leaves them just one point and one place off of safety. WhoÃ¢ÂÂd have thought that just a few short months ago?
Our weekly Franck RibÃÂ©ry story comes courtesy of Bayern chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who says it is their Ã¢ÂÂnumber one priorityÃ¢ÂÂ to extend the FrenchmanÃ¢ÂÂs contract.
While it might be top of the clubÃ¢ÂÂs agenda, however, it seems the winger has other intentions, stating Ã¢ÂÂI want to go to the World Cup with a clear head; I want to have made my decision by the end of March.Ã¢ÂÂ
One player who has extended his contract this week, though, is Bundesliga top scorer Stefan KieÃÂling.
He has signed a new deal to keep him at Leverkusen until the summer of 2015, saying the clubÃ¢ÂÂs vision was the main reason behind his agreement to stay with the Werkself.