Stocker helps Hertha end losing streak


Berlin (AFP) – Swiss winger Valentin Stocker had a hand in both goals as Hertha Berlin ended their three-match losing streak with a 2-0 Bundesliga win over Augsburg on Sunday.

Hertha climb back up to fifth after victory at Berlin’s sun-drenched Olympic Stadium to keep their European hopes alive following straight defeats to Cologne, Moenchengladbach and Hoffenheim.

Stocker played a key role as his attempted shot was headed home by US international John Anthony Brooks for the opening goal on 12 minutes.

The Swiss international then netted his own goal, profiting from good play by Hertha’s strikers Vedad Ibisevic and Salomon Kalou.

Ibisevic held off two defenders to stab a pass through to Kalou, who spotted Stocker unmarked in the area and presented the right winger with a tap-in on 37 minutes.

Kalou could have netted a late third, but failed to get a clean connection on his shot.

The defeat keeps Augsburg 16th in the table — amongst the relegation places — and their plight was compounded later Sunday when Ingolstadt cut the gap behind them to a point by beating bottom side Darmstadt 3-2.

On Saturday, Robert Lewandowski overtook Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the race to be the Bundesliga’s top-scorer this season by netting twice in Bayern Munich’s 4-1 thrashing of Borussia Dortmund.

Runaway league leaders Bayern dominated the clash of Germany’s giants and the win leaves them 10 points clear with six games left as Munich edge closer to a fifth straight league title.

Lewandowski netted either side of half-time at the Allianz Arena to leave him with 26 league goals this season — one more than main rival Aubameyang, who failed to find the net on Saturday.

Veteran wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery also netted in Bayern’s morale-boosting win before Wednesday’s crunch Champions League quarter-final, first-leg, tie against Real Madrid.

The defeat leaves Dortmund, who host Monaco in the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday, fourth in the table and 18 points behind Bayern.

Yussuf Poulsen’s 93rd-minute goal gave 10-man RB Leipzig a 1-0 victory at home to Bayer Leverkusen after captain Willi Orban was sent off for a second yellow card.

Leipzig’s victory was a big step towards direct Champions League qualification next season and they are now seven points ahead of third-placed Hoffenheim, who crashed to a 2-1 defeat at Hamburg.

Aaron Hunt stole the show for Hamburg — who are unbeaten in their last nine home league games — with both goals as Hoffenheim suffered only their third defeat this season.

Wolfsburg, the 2009 champions, are just one point above the bottom three after a 4-1 hammering away to mid-table Schalke, for whom Guido Burgstaller netted twice.

Mainz are only outside the relegation places on goal difference after their 1-0 defeat at Freiburg, whose striker Nils Petersen scored the second-half winner off the bench.

The victory lifted Freiburg into the Europa League places in sixth above Cologne, who lost 3-2 at home to local rivals and fellow European hopefuls Borussia Moenchengladbach.

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