Bremen thump Stuttgart to revive campaign

September 22, 2007

BERLIN, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Hugo Almeida scored twice in two minutes to help injury-hit Werder Bremen to a convincing 4-1 victory over champions VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

The two heavyweights made disappointing starts to the season, winning only two of their first five matches, and were looking to bounce back from mid-week Champions League defeats.

A rampant Bremen made a spectacular start, racing into a 2-0 lead inside four minutes after Almeida beat Stuttgart keeper Raphael Schaefer with sharp strikes from the edge of the box.

Stuttgart hit back in the 13th minute, midfielder Sami Khedira springing the offside trap and squaring for German international striker Mario Gomez to tap in with Bremen keeper Tim Wiese stranded.

But the home side scored again just two minutes later, burly Ivory Coast striker Boubacar Sanogo beating Fernando Meira to a Petri Pasanen cross and heading powerfully into the net.

Midfielder Diego completed Stuttgart's humbling just before the end, his deflected shot from distance spinning past Schaefer.

With six matches played, Bremen move up to seventh on 10 points, two behind leaders Hertha Berlin, who beat Borussia Dortmund 3-2 on Saturday.

Bayern Munich, second on 11 points with a game in hand, can reclaim the top spot on Sunday when they play at Karlsruhe SC.

Schalke 04, also looking to recover from Champions League defeat, moved up to fourth place with a comfortable 3-0 win over Arminia Bielefeld.

Kevin Kuranyi opened the scoring in the 24th minute, the tall German international striker outjumping defender Tobias Rau and heading Christian Pander's cross low past Mathias Hain.

Gerald Asamoah ran on to keeper Manuel Neuer's clearance and lashed the ball home early in the second half and then won a penalty 10 minutes later which Rafinha blasted in for 3-0.

Hamburg SV claimed fifth place on Saturday with a 1-0 home win over fellow UEFA Cup hopefuls Nuremberg.

Ivica Olic created Hamburg's winner with a weaving run into the box on 53 minutes. The Croatian striker squared the ball past the advancing Nuremberg keeper to Rafael van der Vaart and the Dutchman bundled the ball into the empty goal.