Werder lose to Frankfurt to give Bayern a boost

February 23, 2008

BERLIN, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Ten-man Werder Bremen lost 1-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, handing Bayern Munich a chance to move six points clear at the top of the Bundesliga when they play on Sunday.

Werder had Brazilian Diego sent off after 40 minutes and Frankfurt took advantage with a goal from Greece striker Ioannis Amanatidis 11 minutes after the break.

Bayer Leverkusen, like Werder playing their second match in under 48 hours, showed no such signs of post-UEFA Cup fatigue as they won 1-0 at home to Schalke 04 with a wonder goal from Manuel Friedrich five minutes from time.

Friedrich took the ball infield and swept a shot over Manuel Neuer and just under the crossbar from at least 35 metres.

Schalke ended the match with 10 men after Jermaine Jones received a second booking in added time.

Bayern, who host Hamburg SV on Sunday, have 43 points from 20 games.

Werder stay second on 40 points from 21 while Leverkusen climb to third on 38. Hamburg are fourth on 37, two points ahead of Schalke.

Visiting Werder were never in any trouble in their UEFA Cup game against Portugal's Braga on Thursday, with a late goal from Ivan Klasnic clinching a 4-0 aggregate win, but the trip clearly took a lot out of them.

Coach Thomas Schaaf recalled Diego after the playmaker missed the midweek game with a groin injury and he contributed little before earning a red card in a confrontation with Amanatidis.

Diego was unhappy with a harmless enough challenge from his opponent and he jumped up and barged into the Greek striker off the ball, giving the referee an easy decision.

Frankfurt struck the only goal when Sebastian Boenisch gave the ball away on the left and Amanatidis pounced to slip a shot past the keeper.

Werder played much better with 10 than they had with 11. Klasnic was just off target with a header after an hour, Tim Borowski failed to make contact with a header from five metres and in the 77th minute Naldo nodded marginally off target.

'We just couldn't take our chances,' a frustrated Schaaf told Premiere TV. 'We had a lot of good opportunities despite losing a man and we kept on trying.'