Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg march on in Bundesliga
Berlin, Feb 15 (IANS) While relentless Bayern Munich inflicted a heavy 8-0 defeat on Hamburg, Wolfsburg reaped a hard-earned 5-4 win against Leverkusen in the 21st round of Bundesliga.
Bayern Munich cruised to victory, courtesy of braces by Thomas Mueller, Mario Goetze and Arjen Robben. Hapless Hamburg conceded three first half goals and five second half goals and were unable to find a response, reported Xinhua.
Pep Guardiola's men smoothed the way for the 16th win of the season with three goals within 15 minutes of the first half.
Referee Michael Weiner awarded the hosts a handball penalty in the 21st minute that was converted by Mueller, who broke the deadlock. Bayern utilised the momentum two minutes later as Goetze capitalised on a rebound to tap in a 2-0 lead from close range.
Hamburg were unable to put up resistance as Robben tripled the lead with a well-placed effort into the top left corner (36th minute). The Dutchman was not done with scoring as he wrapped up his brace only two minutes after the restart to make it 4-0.
Bayern dominated the game in all departments, especially after the break. They controlled the ball and scored another four goals through Mueller, Robert Lewandowski, Franck Ribery and Goetze.
With the second win in a row, Bundesliga leaders Bayern maintain their eight-point lead and Hamburg remain in 12th place.
Wolfsburg and Leverkusen staged a see-saw match in which the "Wolves" gave away the lead twice. However, Wolfsburg striker Bas Dost, who scored four goals, was on target with a late goal to snatch decisive points in the title race. Leverkusen suffered their second straight defeat.
Wolfsburg was on the road to victory in 29 minutes, but three goals were not enough as resilient Leverkusen fought back twice. The Wolves caught a bright start through Dost, who headed home a cross by Vierinha from nine metres to mark the opener (6th).
Naldo doubled the lead for the visitors with a dead ball goal 11 minutes later before Dost scored his second to extend the lead.
After the break, Wolfsburg retracted whereas Leverkusen, slowly but surely, piled on the pressure. As a consequence, Leverkusen's Heung Min Son donated two goals within five minutes to reduce the arrears to 3-2 in the 62nd minute.
After a short period of recovery, Wolfsburg restored their two-goal lead when Dost sewed up his hat-trick moments later. However, Leverkusen were able to equalise the scores, thanks to goals by Son and Karim Bellarabi.
The hosts had to complete the game with 10 men as Emir Spahic saw his second yellow of the game.
It looked like both sides would share the spoils but it was Dost, again, who had an ace in the hole when he scored the winner and his fourth in the dying seconds.
Wolfsburg remains in second place, eight points adrift of leaders Bayern, and Leverkusen stays sixth.
Elsewhere, third-placed Monchengladbach earned a narrow 1-0 win over newly promoted Cologne at the 82nd Rhenish derby. Granit Xhaka of Gladbach scored the winner when he headed home a free-kick in injury time.
Fourth-positioned Schalke squandered the chance to jump to third place as Frankfurt carved out a 1-0 win on home soil, owing to a header by Lucas Piazon.
Bremen continued their winning run as they downed Augsburg 3-2 thanks to goals from Assani Lukimya, Franco di Santo and Theodor Gebre Selassie and Sebastian Rudy's late grasp 2-1 winner for Hoffenheim increased Stuttgart's relegation worries.