Bayern rout Hamburg to open seven-point gap
BERLIN (AFP) –
Bayern Munich went seven points clear at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday as the Bavarian giants cruised to a 3-0 win at Hamburg with their Germany stars running riot.
With second-placed Schalke 04 suffering a shock 3-2 defeat at Hoffenheim, Bayern took the chance to extend their lead with an emphatic victory as they bounced back from last Sunday’s shock 2-1 home defeat to Bayer Leverkusen.
Germany midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Mueller and Toni Kroos all scored as Hamburg’s previous run of four wins in six games came to a sudden halt while Munich warmed up for Wednesday’s Champions League clash at home to Lille.
“The goal felt really good, especially as it was an important one,” said Mueller after Bayern set a new record having not conceded a goal in their first five away league games with a 15-0 record.
“Finally we won in Hamburg, which has been a dangerous place for us recently.”
Bayern took the lead on 30 minutes when Kroos’ cross found Schweinsteiger unmarked at the far post.
Mueller then added a sublime second on 48 minutes when played into the area by France wing Franck Ribery and with Hamburg goalkeeper Rene Adler covering the near post, Mueller simply curled his shot into the far corner from a tight angle.
With confidence buoyed, Bayern poured forward and Kroos added the third on 53 minutes after exchanging passes with Ribery and blasted home past Adler.
“Bayern were simply too strong for us and we did not have our best day,” said Hamburg coach Thorsten Fink with his side eighth.
Hoffenheim enjoyed their first win in five games against Schalke after striker Kevin Volland put the hosts ahead on 13 minutes before midfielder Roman Neustaedter levelled with a header on 37 minutes for the Royal Blues.
Brazilian midfielder Roberto Firmino then converted a 67th-minute penalty after Volland was fouled in the box.
It had looked as though Schalke had rescued a point after Japan defender Atsuto Uchida had scored a late equaliser to make it 2-2 draw on 82 minutes.
But two minutes after coming off the bench, midfielder Sven Schipplock hit the 91st-minute winner when played through to draw Schalke goalkeeper Lars Unnerstall and fire home before the Royal Blues host Arsenal on Tuesday in the Champions League.
Eintracht Frankfurt remain third after their 1-1 draw with Guerth Fuerth on Friday.
Defending champions Borussia Dortmund are fourth after they were held to a goalless draw by VfB Stuttgart and remain four points behind Frankfurt.
Dortmund captain Sebastian Kehl is an injury doubt for Tuesday’s Champions League clash at Real Madrid after he broke his nose.
The 32-year-old had to be replaced with 20 minutes gone after taking a stray elbow in the face while challenging for a ball with Stuttgart’s Raphael Holzhauser, who was given a yellow card.
“Even if it is possible, it will have to be with a mask,” said Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp when asked if Kehl will be fit for match at Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
“It was an intense game with three clear chances for us.
“We have to live with it that a draw at home feels like a defeat.”
Nuremberg won the battle of the basement teams as midfielder Timo Gebhart scored the winner with a 76th-minute header to move up to 14th and take some of the pressure off coach Dieter Hecking with their first win in seven games.
Hanover are sixth after their 2-0 win at home to Augsburg while Borussia Moenchengladbach were held to a 1-1 draw at their own ground by Freiburg.
On Sunday, fifth-placed Leverkusen host Fortuna Duesseldorf and Werder Bremen are home to Mainz 05.