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Ballack injury mars Bayern win

Paris: Bayern Munich had a bitter sweet weekend, a 3-0 defeat of Bayer Leverkusen stretching their lead to 13 points at the top of the German first division but it came at a high price for their inspirational midfielder Michael Ballack.

Ballack was taken off after 20 minutes after tearing ankle ligaments which will keep him out for six weeks.

Bayernís goals came from Claudio Pizarro with Giovane Elber bagging a double, the first an audacious backheel.

The 17-time championís coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said: ďThe victory was of course overshadowed by the injury to Michael Ballack. Itís a great loss, but it gives another player a chance to impress.Ē

The defeat, just three days after Bayern also beat them 3-1 in the semi-finals of the German Cup, plunges Leverkusen back into trouble ó Thomas Horsterís side are just one point clear of the relegation places.

There was better news, though, for another team fighting relegation, former giants Kaiserslautern. They went into the weekend footing the table but climbed to third from bottom after a 5-0 drubbing of Nuremberg, this victory coming in the week that they won through to the German Cup final.

Reigning champions Dortmund went down away from home to a second-half header from Mikael Forssell, the Finnish international striker on loan to Monchengladbach from English Premiership club Chelsea.

In order to catch Bayern, Dortmund must now hope for the unlikely scenario of their bitter rivals losing at least five of their remaining matches.

Sociedad on course

Real Sociedad showed that they have far from given up on lifting their first Spanish League title in 21 years with a comfortable 3-1 win over Basque rivals Alaves.

The San Sebastian side relinquished the lead to Real Madrid last week after four months on top. Sunday they rediscovered the form that saw them go undefeated for the first half of the season to stay second, just one point in arrears of Real Madrid.

Real ensured they would not be toppled from their perch with a convincing 4-1 victory over Racing Santander on Saturday, giving the European and world club champions 51 points from 25 games.

Italian champions Juventus pulled three points clear of Inter Milan after a David Trezeguet volley ended Udineseí unbeaten home run.

Juveís French international striker came off the bench to score the only goal six minutes from time ó a perfect riposte to Interís 2-1 win over Bologna 24 hours earlier. (AFP)

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