Football: In-form Dost bags brace in Wolfsburg win

BERLIN (AFP) - Dutch striker Bas Dost's sensational form continued as his double lifted second-placed VfL Wolfsburg to a 2-1 win over Hertha Berlin in the German Bundesliga on Sunday.

Dost struck early in the game only to see second-bottom visitors Hertha hit back on the half-hour through Julian Schieber.

But Wolfsburg stayed eight points behind leaders Bayern Munich after Dost pounced for the winning goal with 16 minutes left.

The 25-year-old has now scored nine goals in Wolfsburg's five league matches since the winter break and he also netted twice in Thursday's Europa League game against Sporting Lisbon.

"It was very hard today after Thursday's game," Dost said. "We had to get a second goal and it wasn't too easy. In the end we did though, and that shows we have a very good team." Wolfsburg had hit the front after 10 minutes. Dost, who found the net four times in a remarkable 5-4 win against Leverkusen last weekend, swept home first-time from inside the box after Andre Schuerrle had flicked on Vieirinha's pass.

But Hertha drew level when Valentin Stocker mugged Sebastian Jung down the left and crossed for Schieber. The former Borussia Dortmund striker's diving header from six yards was his seventh goal of the campaign.

Schuerrle screwed a shot over before half-time and in the second half the new signing from Chelsea blazed a close-range volley off target after Dost had nodded the ball back to him.

Schuerrle missed two further chances before Dost reacted quickest when Luiz Gustavo's thunderous shot from distance crashed back off the post. His 11th league goal of the season condemned Hertha to a fifth defeat in six matches.

"Obviously Wolfsburg were the better team," Hertha coach Pal Dardai said. "But all the same, tactically, in terms of willingness to run and to fight, we responded well. The team showed spirit." - Hrgota goal rescues Gladbach - ================================ Meanwhile, an injury-time goal from substitute Branimir Hrgota earned Borussia Moenchengladbach a 1-1 draw at Hamburg and denied the home team some breathing space in their fight against relegation.

A well-taken 73rd-minute strike from Zoltan Stieber looked like it might be enough to move Hamburg four points clear of the drop zone, only for Swedish forward Hrgota to power home a header from a corner.

The visitors had been hoping to take a firmer grip on third place after results went their way on Saturday but in the end they were relieved to escape with a point.

"Hamburg were very aggressive," Gladbach boss Lucien Favre said. "We had two very good chances at the start and we didn't take them.

"You have to say too that Hamburg fought very well. Bayern drew 0-0 here, Leverkusen lost 1-0 and Hanover lost 2-1 [IN THE DERBY]. It's not easy here." Hamburg had made seven changes to the team that was hammered 8-0 by Bayern last weekend, with out-of-form captain Rafael van der Vaart left on the bench as Joe Zinnbauer sought a strong reaction.

And goalscorer Stieber said it was vital that the home side responded well.

"We knew that last week, it was a very bad day for us," he said. "All week long we showed a lot of concentration in training.

"It's tough to lose points in the last seconds but that's football. Nevertheless, we showed that we're a good team." The game looked to be drifting to a goalless draw but it exploded into life when Artjoms Rudnevs broke at pace before setting up Stieber. The Hungarian attacker curled home into the bottom corner beyond Gladbach 'keeper Yann Sommer.

But Gladbach forced a corner two minutes into stoppage time and substitute Raffael cleverly stepped out of the path of the ball to allow Hrgota's header to nestle in the corner.

On Saturday, Bayern enjoyed a 6-0 win at 10-man Paderborn, while Augsburg goalkeeper Marwin Hitz scored a stoppage-time equaliser in a 2-2 draw against Bayer Leverkusen.

Robert Lewandowksi's first-half double got Bayern on their way, while Arjen Robben is the league's top scorer after getting his 15th and 16th goals of the season.