Two goals from the Brazilian striker Giovane Elber enabled VfB Stuttgart to stay at the top of the Bundesliga despite being reduced to 10 men for the majority of their match against Freiburg on Friday. Frank Verlaat, Stuttgart's Dutch libero, was sent off in the 29th minute for a challenge on Harry Decheiver with the score at 1-1.
The early-season pacesetters, inspired by the return from injury of Krassimir Balakov, refused to be discouraged. Thomas Schneider put them ahead in the 39th minute, but Decheiver equalised for Freiburg early in the second half. Balakov set up Elber's first in the 64th minute and the striker added a second four minutes later to secure the points.
Second-placed Bayer Leverkusen kept up the pressure with a 4-1 demolition of Hansa Rostock. Leverkusen went behind early in the game, but a double from Paulo Sergio put them on the road to victory.
Borussia Dortmund, the reigning champions, went down by a single goal away to the newly promoted Bochum. A spectacular goal from the defender Thomasz Waldoch gave Bochum their first victory over their wealthy local rivals since 1989.
On Friday, Ferencvaros, the Hungarian champions, were fined pounds 50,000 and warned that they could be kicked out of European competitions by Uefa following crowd trouble when they played the Greek side Olympiakos in the Uefa Cup in Budapest last month. Ferencvaros face Newcastle in the next round of the competition.
Vitoria Guimaraes of Portugal also received a hefty punishment from Uefa, fined pounds 15,000 because of the bad behaviour of their ball boys during their Uefa Cup match against Parma on 24 September. Uefa said the ball-boys "behaved in an unsportsmanlike way and willingly delayed the return of the ball on several occasions after it went out of play."
Faustino Asprilla, Newcastle's out-of-favour striker, said on Friday he was definitely staying at Newcastle. Asprilla, who has found himself on the substitutes' bench recently, vehemently rejected the rumours about an imminent return to Italy: "I'm happy in England and I'm staying at Newcastle. I've always been well-treated by the fans, Kevin and the trainers."Reuse content