Borussia Dortmund’s Bundesliga crisis deepens
BERLIN (AP) — Borussia Dortmund’s Bundesliga troubles continued Saturday with a 1-0 loss at home to Hannover, the side’s fourth straight league defeat.
Dortmund, the 2011 and 2012 league champion, was left to rue a host of missed opportunities when Japan midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake struck a precise free kick over the wall and inside the corner in the 61st minute.
Hannover goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler produced a string of saves to deny the home side. Hannover finished with 10 men after Ceyhun Gulselam got his second yellow card in the 89th.
Elsewhere, Stuttgart edged a nine-goal thriller 5-4 at Eintracht Frankfurt, Augsburg defeated Freiburg 2-0, Hertha Berlin routed Hamburger SV 3-0 and unbeaten Hoffenheim defeated promoted Paderborn 1-0 to go provisionally second.
Hakan Calhanoglu’s perfect free kick in the 53rd gave Bayer Leverkusen a deserved 1-0 win over Schalke in the late game. Leverkusen defender Tin Jedvaj earned a direct red for a wild tackle on Jan Kirchhoff with five minutes to play.
“It was a tactical game with few chances decided by a set piece,” Schalke striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar said. “We didn’t play enough football.”
Leverkusen’s first victory after three draws propelled the side provisionally fourth, while Schalke dropped to 12th after Roberto di Matteo’s first defeat in his third game as coach.
Earlier, bottom side Werder Bremen fired coach Robin Dutt and appointed Viktor Skripnik, its under-23 coach, in his place.
Dortmund’s players lined up in their Champions League jerseys, hopeful of bringing European form — three wins from three games — to the Bundesliga, which the club has started as badly only twice before.
Juergen Klopp’s side dominated the first half in terms of possession and chances but again the effort failed to yield goals.
“We had four or five clear chances, but didn’t put the ball in,” Klopp said.
Zieler denied Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s effort in the 12th and Germany teammate Mats Hummels’ header six minutes later.
Marco Reus almost made the breakthrough toward the end of the half when he shot narrowly over, and Zieler produced another top save to deny Reus early in the second.
Kiyotake’s expertly taken spot kick was Hannover’s first away goal of the season, while Dortmund’s fifth defeat in six games left it just one point above Hamburg in the relegation zone.
“We’ll keep fighting,” Klopp said.
Christian Gentner was the hero for Stuttgart, which twice came from behind to win on coach Armin Veh’s return to former club Frankfurt.
“It was a crazy game,” Veh said.
Alexander Madlung opened the scoring on a rebound after Haris Seferovic’s initial header struck the crossbar in the 21st, but Stuttgart striker Martin Harnik scored twice in three minutes to put the visitors ahead in the 37th. TV replays showed Harnik’s first goal should have been ruled out for offside, however.
Gentner thought he’d sealed the result when he curled his shot inside the far post to make it 3-1 in the 51st.
But Alexander Meier pulled one back six minutes later, Stefan Aigner scored four minutes later and Madlung claimed his second four minutes after that to make it 4-3 to Frankfurt.
With Frankfurt pushing for a fifth, the 18-year-old Timo Werner equalized after a great solo run in the 81st, and Gentner struck again three minutes later for the winner.
Seferovic earned a direct red card a minute later for suggesting to a linesman that he needed glasses.
“It’s not easy to smile after such a game,” Frankfurt coach Thomas Schaaf said.
Kevin Volland’s 73rd-minute strike was enough for Hoffenheim to move three points behind league leader Bayern Munich, which visits Borussia Moenchengladbach on Sunday.
In Berlin, Anis Ben-Hatira opened the scoring against Hamburg in the 59th, John Heitinga made it 2-0 six minutes later, and Ben-Hatira sealed Hertha’s third win of the season by claiming his second with five minutes remaining.
Augsburg won thanks to an 11th minute penalty from Paul Verhaegh and second half goal from Halil Altintop.