Werder Bremen keep up the pressure on Stuttgart and Schalke


Hamburg : Werder Bremen kept up the pressure on Bundesliga table-toppers Schalke 04 and VfB Stuttgart with a 4-1 victory at Hertha Berlin.

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The victory Sunday took Bremen to 63 points with two games remaining. They are two points behind Schalke and one behind Stuttgart, who both won their matches Saturday.

Bremen, who on Thursday were knocked out of the UEFA Cup at the semi-final stage after losing at home to Espaynol Barcelona, were the better side in Berlin and deserved their victory Sunday.

Swede Markus Rosenberg was the hero for Bremen as he scored three goals against the side from the capital, who were reduced to 10 men in the 35th minute after Josip Simunic was red carded for a serious foul on Christian Schulz.

Brazilian midfielder Diego scored the other goal for Bremen while his compatriot Gilberto pulled one back for a disappointing Berlin side.

Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf said it had been important for him that the team rehabilitate themselves after the disappointment midweek.

"We stay in contention. Rosenberg did very well. It was important for me that the team gave it their all after losing in the UEFA Cup. I am please that they did that," Shaaf said.

German international Torsten Frings believes that his team still has a chance to win the title. "The victory is deserved, even by three goals. Now we have to hope that Schalke or Stuttgart drop points, as we did last week."

In the other game Sunday, Arminia Bielefeld made sure of their first division status for next season with a 2-1 victory at Bayer Leverkusen – a result that puts their hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Cup in doubt.

Polish international Artur Wichniarek gave the visitors the lead in the 19th minute, but Sergej Barbarez equalised on the half hour. Jonas Kamper gave his side victory seven minutes from the end.

Kamper said he looked forward to celebrating the victory. "We will take three or four crates of beer into our bus. And when we arrive back in Bielefeld we will continue."

Bielefeld coach Erns Middendorp, who joined the team in March from South African club Kaizer Chiefs, said he had always said that the team had potential. "Everybody knew that we were in trouble. And I am very proud that we are probably saved."