Stuttgart`s Cacau nets to warm up for Brazil

Stuttgart: Germany`s Brazil-born striker Cacau warmed-up for Wednesday`s friendly against the South Americans with a goal as 2007 German champions VfB Stuttgart beat Schalke 3-0 to open their season on Saturday.

Title holders Borussia Dortmund had started proceedings with an impressive 3-1 win over Hamburg on Friday thanks to two goals from Germany`s rising stars Kevin Grosskreutz and Mario Goetze.

But Stuttgart also picked up three points and Cacau, who will be back at Stuttgart`s Mercedes Benz Arena on Wednesday when Germany face Brazil, opened the scoring with a 37th-minute header.

The hosts added a second against last season`s Champions League semi-finalists when Austria striker Martin Harnik scored with a 56th-minute header.

Striker Shinji Okazaki, who has been named in the Japan squad to face South Korea on Wednesday, made sure of the three points with a superb strike on 89 minutes to make his side joint early league leaders.

"Today is a special day for Stuttgart," delighted coach Bruno Labbadia told German television Sky.

"To get such a good win against a strong opponent at home is just great."

Hanover 96, who face Sevilla in a Europa League play-off on August 28, were also winners with a 2-1 victory over Hoffenheim.

Ex-Germany striker Jan Schlaudraff put Hanover ahead when he slotted home a free-kick on 15 minutes, only for Hoffenheim to equalise three minutes later when midfielder Sejad Salihovic converted a penalty.

When Schlaudraff was fouled in the area on 30 minutes, Norway striker Mohammed Abdellaoue stepped up to secure the three points for Hanover.

Having spent last season flirting with relegation, Bremen got their season off to a flying start with a 2-0 home win over Kaiserslautern as Sweden striker Markus Rosenberg netted twice in the second half.

Patrick Helmes scored twice as 2009 champions Wolfsburg won 2-0 at Cologne as coach Felix Magath named midfielder Christian Traesch as skipper after stripping Marcel Schaefer of the captaincy.

Schaefer had the final say as his late header sealed the three points before Helmes scored his second in added time.

Striker Sascha Moelders scored with two headers as newly-promoted Augsburg earned a 2-2 draw at home to Freiburg.

Hertha Berlin, back in the Bundesliga after winning the second division last season, face Nuremberg on Saturday night.

Bayern Munich open their season on Sunday at home to Borussia Moenchengladbach while Bayer Leverkusen at Mainz.

Bureau Report

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