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Surging Frankfurt beat Nuremberg to extend unbeaten run


Berlin (AFP) – Eintracht Frankfurt, the only Bundesliga club still left in European competition, kept up their challenge for a Champions League spot with a 1-0 win at home to bottom side Nuremberg on Sunday.

Later, defending champions Bayern Munich must beat mid-table Mainz at the Allianz Arena to regain top spot on goal difference after Borussia Dortmund knocked the Bavarian giants into second on Saturday with a 3-2 win at Hertha Berlin.

After Bayern were dumped out of the Champions League by Liverpool in midweek, Frankfurt are Germany’s last club left in Europe after making the last eight of the Europa League with a 1-0 win at Inter Milan on Thursday.

A first-half goal by Austrian defender Martin Hinteregger on Sunday left Frankfurt unbeaten in their last 13 games, including nine in the Bundesliga.

Adi Huetter’s side sit fifth, a point behind Borussia Moenchengladbach in the final Champions League place with eight games left.

Frankfurt face Benfica over two legs in the Europa League quarters and it was a superb pass from in-form striker Luka Jovic, who is on loan from the Portuguese side, which led to the winner against Nuremberg.

The 21-year-old Serbian, who scored Frankfurt’s winner in Milan, has scored 15 goals in 24 league games this season, including five against Fortuna Duesseldorf last October.

He set up the winner on Sunday by spotting Filip Kostic free on the left and Jovic’s pin-point accurate pass found his Serbian team-mate, who crossed for Hinteregger to tap home on 31 minutes.

Frankfurt appeared to double their lead on 90 minutes when Ante Rebic fired home after a great pass by Sebastien Haller.

However, the Croatian winger was offside and the goal was ruled out by VAR.

– Bremen shock Leverkusen –

Earlier, Werder Bremen forwards Max Kruse and Milot Rashica combined to halt Bayer Leverkusen’s charge up the table by scoring the goals in a 3-1 away win.

Between them, centre-forward Kruse and winger Rashica have netted six goals and provided three assists in four league games and the duo did the damage against Leverkusen.

Kruse gave his mid-table side the lead on 13 minutes at the BayArena, finding the bottom corner.

Under new coach Peter Bosz, Leverkusen had risen to sixth and the Europa League places by winning all but one of their previous seven league matches, but with playmaker Kai Havertz benched for the first half, they struggled.

Bremen doubled their lead on 37 minutes when Kruse played Rashica into the box and the 22-year-old winger grabbed his third goal in two games after a brace in last week’s 4-2 rout of Schalke.

At 2-0 down, Havertz came on for the second half, but Bremen’s defence held firm in open play.

Dead-ball expert Leon Bailey blasted home a free-kick on 75 minutes, but with the hosts hunting an equaliser, Bremen counter-attacked deep into added time.

An adventurous dribble by Bailey broke down on the edge of the Bremen box and the ball was moved quickly upfield as Kruse cut in to drill home their third goal in the 95th minute.

The result lifts Bremen to eighth and leaves Leverkusen sixth, four points behind Frankfurt.

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