Wolfsburg hammer Werder Bremen 6-0
Celtic held by Kilmarnock
BERLIN: Germany striker Max Kruse netted twice in Wolfsburg’s 6-0 rout of Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga yesterday to warm-up for Wednesday’s Champions League clash at CSKA Moscow. Kruse said he was glad to get back to football after the horror scenes from Paris and the postponed Germany-Holland friendly in Hannover last Tuesday due to a bomb scare. “Of course you have a few thoughts after a week like that, but we have to go out as role models and try and be as bold as possible and not be put off by what has happened,” said Kruse. “Today was a lot of work, but a step in the right direction.”
In Europe, Wolfsburg are third in Group B, but just a point behind leaders Manchester United ahead of their penultimate group game at bottom side CSKA Moscow. There was a minute’s silence at all Bundesliga grounds this weekend-the players also wore black armbands-out of respect for the Paris victims. Stuttgart’s 4-0 thumping at home to Augsburg was delayed by 15 minutes due to the tightened security checks at stadiums across the country. There were no such problems at Wolfsburg’s Volkswagen Arena as Bremen gifted their hosts the opener when defender Alejandro Galvez slid the ball into his own net on 11 minutes.
Kruse put Wolfsburg 2-0 up at the break by heading home a free-kick then Portugal international Vierinha netted on 56 minutes. The floodgates opened when French defensive midfielder Josuha Guilavogui, on for the injured Brazil star Luiz Gustavo, stabbed home his shot on 67 minutes. Kruse then set up Netherlands striker Bas Dost on 78 minutes before completing the scoring three minutes from time by converting a cross. The result leaves Wolfsburg five points behind second-placed Borussia Dortmund, who lost 3-1 at Hamburg on Friday, while leaders Bayern Munich played at Schalke yesterday evening. GLASGOW: Celtic remain six points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership despite being held to a goalless draw with Kilmarnock at Parkhead yesterday. The Hoops dominated possession but lacked the creative spark to get behind an organized Kilmarnock defense. Leigh Griffiths forced Jamie MacDonald into a couple of decent saves and Dedryck Boyata sent a powerful header crashing off the bar in stoppage as Celtic were left frustrated. It is the second time this season the Hoops have failed to beat Killie after they were held to a 2-2 draw with the Rugby Park side in August.
“It was very frustrating as over the 90 minutes we had 70 per cent possession,” Celtic manager Ronny Deila fumed.”Today we had a lack of tempo, creativity and timing in the last third of the pitch. We didn’t create enough but we still should have won the game.” Kilmarnock manager Gary Locke was pleased to pick up a point. “The game plan we worked on all week worked a treat and we probably could have nicked it in the end with a couple of chances on the counter attack,” Locke said. “I could not be happier with the performance.” Hearts missed out on the chance to close the gap at the top after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Dundee at Tynecastle although Aberdeen could move to within five points of the Hoops if they defeat Hamilton on Sunday.
Celtic had been given a pre-match boost with the return of captain Scott Brown after an absence of four weeks but an illness ruled out Kris Commons. The Hoops skipper came in for some close attention from the Killie players early on with Josh Magennis seeing yellow for his crude challenge on the midfielder. After a lowkey start, the first real opportunity of the match
Borussia Moenchengladbach are up to fourth as Andre Schubert celebrated his first match in charge as head coach with a 2-1 win at home to Hanover 96. Having taken over in September when Borussia were bottom of the table, the 42-year-old has been promoted from a caretaker role after steering Gladbach to seven wins and a draw in his eight league games. Gladbach took the lead when Guinea midfielder Ibrahima Traore was left unmarked on the edge of the area with half an hour gone.
Hanover equalized through Poland international Artur Sobiech on 65 minutes, but Brazil striker Raffael scored the winner six minutes from time. Ex-Manchester United star Javier Hernandez scored his first brace for Bayer Leverkusen in their 3-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt. Christmas came early for Hernandez in Frankfurt when Eintracht centre-back David Abraham allowed a cross to roll between his legs and the striker stabbed home on 11 minutes. The Mexico striker doubled his tally on 39 minutes when Hakan Calhanoglu’s pass split the Frankfurt defense. Hernandez did the rest, but it finished 2-1 at the break when Serbian midfielder Slobodan Medojevic headed home on the stroke of half-time.
Calhanoglu sealed the win with Leverkusen’s third goal on 72 minutes. Augsburg climbed off the bottom of the table with an emphatic 4-0 win at VfB Stuttgart as woeful defending by the hosts allowed the visitors to take an early 2-0 lead with both goals by midfielder Alexander Esswein. Defender Jan-Ingwer CallsenBracker grabbed a third before former South Korea captain Koo Ja-Cheol scored Augsburg’s fourth when he hit the top right-hand corner from 10 meters out on 54 minutes. The Rhine derby finished goalless as Mainz drew at Cologne as the hosts abandoned plans to play in a special-edition carnival-themed shirt out of respect for those who died in Paris.— AFP fell to top-scorer Griffiths who did well to control a long ball over the top of the Killie defense but then fired a weak effort straight at MacDonald. Australian international Tom Rogic dragged a shot wide and James Forrest had his effort blocked as the Killie defense continued to frustrate Celtic.
Celtic started the second half in determined fashion and MacDonald had to be alert to push a fierce free-kick from Griffiths round the post in the 48th minute. The Hoops striker then fired just over after the ball broke to him in the box as the Scottish champions tried to find an opener. Celtic dominated possession and remained camped in the Kilmarnock half but a combination of some rugged organization and desperate defending kept the Hoops at bay. Kilmarnock had rarely managed over the half way line but came close to an opener in the 83rd minute when Greg Kiltie fired a fierce strike at Craig Gordon which the keeper managed to turn round the post. Magennis had his header held from the resultant corner before Tope Obadeyi had an angled shot stopped by Gordon. Skipper Brown looked to drive Celtic forward and unleashed a powerful shot that MacDonald did well to keep out. The Hoops were inches away from a winner in stoppage time as Boyata’s header rattled the crossbar as the Belgian defender connected with a Griffiths free-kick swung in from the right. Elsewhere, St Johnstone came from behind to earn a 2-1 victory over bottom of the table Dundee United at Tannadice, Partick Thistle earned a 2-1 win against Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County ended a three game losing streak as they earned a 3-0 win over Motherwell, who slip to second bottom.—AFP
WOLFSBURG: Wolfsburg’s Brazilian defender Naldo (right) and Bremen’s Austrian midfielder Zlatko Junuzovic (2nd right) head for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match VfL Wolfsburg vs Werder Bremen yesterday. —AFP