Schalke crash again; Novakovic hat-trick lifts Cologne

Schalke crash again; Novakovic hat-trick lifts Cologne

The Schalke 04 crisis deepened on Saturday when a 1-0 home defeat against Bayer Leverkusen left them stranded second last in the Bundesliga, dpa reported.

Sidney Sam claimed the winner for Leverkusen as the pressure rises on coach Felix Magath who has just one victory from 10 games.

Earlier, Milivoje Novakovic scored a hat-trick as Cologne left last place with a 3-2 victory over SV Hamburg in the league debut of their coach Frank Schaefer.

   Cologne sacked coach Zvonimir Soldo, under whom Novakovic was not first choice, last weekend in the wake of poor results. They rose from 18th to 15th place with the second season victory.

Werder Bremen crashed 3-2 at home against Nuremberg, Borussia Moenchengladbach are the new bottom club from a 3-0 defeat at Kaiserslautern, VfL Wolfsburg defeated VfB Stuttgart 2-0 and Eintracht Frankfurt won 3-1 at 10-man St Pauli Hamburg.

   The surprise runaway leaders Mainz 05 (24) and Borussia Dortmund (22) meet for a table-topper in Mainz on Sunday.

Leverkusen are third on 18 points after the win at Schalke, who were frustrated when Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was denied by the crossbar and the left post.

Sam then ran away from all defenders to score Leverkusen's winner on the counter in the 65th minute and Schalke failed again to claim a first home victory.

"It is a very difficult start into the season. We need one great game. We don't score although we have chances. Taking they lead would give us confidence. Instead, we were afraid again," said Schalke's Spanish star forward Raul Gonzalez.

"We have a good team and a good coach. We didn't expect this but these things can happen in football. We must continue working hard."

   Cologne drew first blood in the 11th minute when Podolski fed Novakovic for the opener. But Hamburg, who who were hammered 5-2 by Frankfurt in a midweek cup match, appeared in command when Mladen Petric headed home and Son Heung Min made it 2-1 in the 24th.

   However, Cologne refused to bow as Podolski connected again with Novakovic for the equalizer five minutes later. Novakovic wrapped up his great day with the 84th-minute winner after Hamburg's Guerrero was denied by the crossbar.

   "I am very proud of myself but must also thank the team. The coach had faith in me and the team," said Novakovic.

   Bremen took a fifth-minute lead from Hugo Almeida, but, like in Tuesday's 2-1 cup defeat in Munich, Marko Arnautovic missed several first-rate chances and Bremen paid for it again.

   Guendogan tapped in the equalizer on the stroke of half-time and Ekici made it 2-1 two minutes after the restart. Guendogan wrapped up matters in the 73rd in a move which saw Nuremberg first denied by the crossbar and the post. Claudio Pizzaro got Bremen's second.

Edin Dzeko claimed both Wolfsburg goals which means the hosts have now scored in a league-record 40 consecutive home games since May 2008, beating Munich's previous mark of 39.

   Munich defeated SC Freiburg 4-2 on Friday and Hoffenheim host Hanover 96 in the second Sunday game.

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