BERLIN - Bundesliga leaders Hertha Berlin needed a lucky Andriy Voronin goal to beat Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 to maintain a four-point cushion at the top on Saturday. Voronin, on loan from Liverpool, scored his eighth goal in six matches when his close-range shot in the 50th minute was saved by visiting keeper Rene Adler and the ball deflected back off the Ukraine striker and into the net. Champions Bayern Munich, without injured midfielder Franck Ribery and striker Luca Toni, eased past VfL Bochum 3-0 with goals from Ze Roberto, Philipp Lahm and Martin Demichelis to stay in the title hunt on 45 points. VfL Wolfsburg, on the same points as second-placed Bayern, recorded a 4-3 triumph over Schalke 04 on Friday. Hoffenheim dropped to fourth with 43 points from 24 games after a 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt. With Bundesliga players wearing black armbands in memory of the victims of this week's German school shooting, matches kicked off after a minute's silence. Hertha were cautious against seventh-placed Leverkusen and both sides carved out only one chance in the first half but neither Bayer striker Stefan Kiessling nor Hertha's Rodnei could put their headers on target. Ukraine forward Voronin then struck in the second half to earn Hertha their third win in a row. "It got very tight in the end," Hertha coach Lucien Favre told reporters. "We beat one of the country's best teams who were better than us in the first half." MISSED PENALTY Bayern, who went through to the Champions League quarter-finals with a record 12-1 aggregate win over Sporting in midweek, failed to create a single scoring chance in the first 30 minutes. They also lost striker Miroslav Klose on the half hour after he limped off to be replaced by Jose Sosa. It took a defender and a midfielder to combine to break the deadlock in the 32nd minute when Daniel van Buyten headed on a cross for Ze Roberto to shoot home from 14 metres. Bochum were reduced to 10 men three minutes after the restart when Marc Pfertzel fouled Sosa in the box, Lukas Podolski driving his penalty wide. Defender Lahm made it 2-0 when he raced into the box and unleashed a trademark, low curling shot from 11 metres. Demichelis then completed the scoring in the 90th minute. "I am comfortable to return home with this result," said Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann. "Hertha won, we won so the gap stays the same." He added that Klose had stepped into a hole on the pitch and was hoping his injury was not too serious. Third from bottom Borussia Moenchengladbach notched their second consecutive win, beating Cologne 4-2 away, while Borussia Dortmund twice squandered a two-goal lead in a 4-4 draw at Hanover 96.
14 March 2009
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