Wolfsburg crash at Cottbus as Bundesliga race stays tight
Wolfsburg's 10-game winning run came to an end when they crashed to a 2-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Energie Cottbus in the German Bundesliga on Sunday, dpa reported.
The result kept the Bundesliga title race wide open, with Wolfsburg two points clear at the top ahead of a chasing quartet of Hertha Berlin, Bayern Munich, VfB Stuttgart and SV Hamburg.
With five matches remaining, Wolfsburg have 57 points, with Hertha on 55 and Bayern, Stuttgart and Hamburg on 54.
Cottbus moved out of the relegation zone, ahead of Borussia Moenchengladbach and Arminia Bielefeld who drew 1-1.
Wolfsburg were seeking a Bundesliga record of 11 successive wins but could not break down a dogged Cottbus side and failed to score for only the third time this season.
Felix Magath's side were stunned in the 72nd minute when Ilica Iliev played a one-two with Ervin Skela on the left and crossed for Dimitar Rangelov to head in at the far post.
The home side put the game beyond reach when Skela made it two with four minutes remaining as Wolfsburg were caught on the break.
"We had good chances which we didn't take and and that's why we didn't win," Magath said.
Wolfsburg were foiled several times by keeper Gerhard Tremmel who did well to keep out an early Zvejezdan Misimovic effort and pulled off another fine save when he thwarted Cristian Zaccardo almost immediately after Rangelov's goal.
Brazilian striker Grafite, the league's top scorer, was well shackled, but strike partner Edin Dzeko missed a good opportunity when he pulled a shot just wide before the interval and shot weakly from a good position after the break, again allowing Tremmel to save.
"He stopped everything and played tremendously but our strikers didn't have their best day today," Magath said.
Rangelov's goal left Wolfsburg looking desperate and they were caught out when Dennis Soerensen threaded a ball through to Skela who worked some space before turning the ball past Diego Benaglio in goal.
The defeat was a fillip for Wolfsburg's rivals including Bayern Munich who slipped to a 1-0 home defeat to Schalke 04 on Saturday.
Hamburg also went down Saturday in a 2-0 loss at Borussia Dortmund, while Stuttgart defeated Eintracht Frankfurt and Hertha were 1-0 winners on Friday at Hoffenheim.
Cottbus are now out of the relegation zone, on 26 points, one ahead of Bielefeld and two up on Moenchengladbach, with Karlsruhe two points further adrift in last place.
Moenchengladbach took the lead against Bielefeld through Algerian striker Karim Matmour in the 13th minute, only for the visitors to level through Robert Tesche in the 32nd.