Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund continues rise with win vs. Hannover
BERLIN (AP) — Japan star Shinji Kagawa scored one goal and set up another as Borussia Dortmund edged 10-man Hannover 3-2 in the Bundesliga on Saturday.
Dortmund, bottom in February, is five points off sixth-place Augsburg with eight games still to play.
"There are only a few more points to the Europa League qualification places. We have to look up from now on," forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said.
Aubameyang put the visitors ahead in the 19th, only for Leonardo Bittencourt to set up Lars Stindl's equalizer for Hannover in the 31st.
Bittencourt missed a great chance to score three minutes later when he blasted wide with only the goalkeeper to beat. Dortmund, eliminated from the Champions League by Juventus on Wednesday, was second best until former Dortmund player Bittencourt was dismissed with two bookings in quick succession by the 55th.
Kagawa restored Dortmund's lead with a tap-in two minutes later, with Marco Reus providing his second assist, and the Japanese attacking midfielder then set up Aubameyang's second with the outside of his boot in the 61st.
Hannover goalkeeper Ron-Robert deflected Reus' effort onto the post, before Stindl ensured a nervy ending by scoring again with a fine strike to the top corner in the 82nd.
"We started really well and then made life difficult for ourselves," said Dortmund defender Mats Hummels, who had to clear Joselu's effort off the line before Bittencourt was sent off.
In the late game, Karim Bellarabi's 35th-minute rifled shot to the roof of the net from a difficult angle was enough for Bayer Leverkusen to win 1-0 at Schalke, keeping a direct rival for Champions League qualification at bay.
"The Atletico (Madrid) game was still in our legs a bit," Bellarabi said, referring to Tuesday's Champions League exit on penalties to the Spanish side. "But we knew how important this game is. We are now where we want to be."
Leverkusen moved provisionally third, ahead of Borussia Moenchengladbach, which hosts league leader Bayern Munich on Sunday. Also that day, second-place Wolfsburg visits Mainz.
Schalke coach Roberto di Matteo acknowledged Champions League qualification would be difficult.
"But there are eight games left. We have to believe it's still theoretically possible," said di Matteo, whose side was five points behind 'Gladbach.
Augsburg earlier lost 2-0 at Freiburg, which escaped the relegation zone on goal difference from Hamburger SV thanks to second half-goals from Jonathan Schmid and Nils Petersen.
Bottom side Stuttgart also boosted its hopes of avoiding the drop with a come-from-behind 3-1 defeat of Eintracht Frankfurt for its first win at home since September.
"They're three points, not any more than that," Stuttgart coach Huub Stevens said.
Elsewhere, Cologne drew 1-1 with Werder Bremen and Paderborn vs. Hoffenheim ended scoreless. Hoffenheim defender Ermin Bicakcic was sent off in the 65th for his second yellow card.
Before games kicked off, teams displayed messages against intolerance on the Bundesliga's "day against discrimination."