Berlin (AFP) – Florian Kainz netted two superb goals in Werder Bremen’s 3-1 Bundesliga win at home to Wolfsburg on Sunday, helping ease his side’s relegation worries.
Stuttgart also boosted their chances of Bundesliga survival with a 1-0 victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Werder finished the weekend three points above the relegation zone in 15th with Stuttgart a point and a place above that.
Swedish defender Ludwig Augustinsson headed Bremen into an early lead before Austrian international Kainz curled a long-range shot inside the far post on 40 minutes at Bremen’s Weser Stadion.
Wolfsburg captain Paul Verhaegh gave the visitors hope by converting a penalty early in the second half.
However, Bremen sealed the win after midfielder Maximilian Eggestein won possession and striker Max Kruse sent Kainz in behind the defence, the Austrian slotting an ice-cool finish past ex-Bremen goalkeeper Koen Casteels with 18 minutes left.
The win leaves Bremen unbeaten in their last seven homes games in all competitions, while Wolfsburg are 13th, but only four points from danger.
Earlier, Stuttgart got their first victory under new coach Tayfun Korkut as striker Daniel Ginczek netted the only goal of the game.
Korkut, 43, a German-born former Turkey international, was brought in as head coach a fortnight ago to stop Stuttgart’s slide after predecessor Hannes Wolf was sacked following a run of seven defeats in eight league games.
After overseeing Stuttgart’s 1-1 draw at Wolfsburg last weekend, Korkut got off to a winning start at Stuttgart’s Mercedes Benz Arena.
Just five minutes in, veteran Germany striker Mario Gomez threaded a pass between two defenders for Ginczek to sprint onto and cooly slot home his fourth league goal of the season.
Gladbach had their chances as Josip Drmic, Brazil forward Raffael and Germany striker Lars Stindl all went agonisingly close for the visitors, who have now suffered three straight league defeats.
This was only Stuttgart’s fifth league win since October.
Erratic Moenchengladbach drop to tenth despite being the only team other than Hoffenheim to beat runaway leaders Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga this season.
On Saturday, Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski scored for the 11th straight home league match, equalling the Bundesliga record, with Thomas Mueller also netting in a 2-1 win over Schalke that left Munich 18 points clear.