Dortmund floor Freiburg to trim Bayern's lead
BERLIN (AFP) –
German champions Borussia Dortmund routed Freiburg 5-1 on Saturday to provisionally trim runaway league leaders Bayern Munich’s lead at the top of the Bundesliga to 17 points.
Although they will face Juventus in the Champions League quarter-finals, Bayern are looking to bounce back from their 2-0 last 16, second leg defeat at home to Arsenal on Wednesday at Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday night.
Bayern need only three more league wins to be crowned German champions for the 23rd time.
Second-placed Dortmund, who play Malaga in the last eight in Europe, ran riot at Signal Iduna Park with Poland’s Robert Lewandowski and Turkey’s Nuri Sahin both scoring twice.
Striker Lewandowski set a new club record having now scored in each of his last eight league games, while ex-Real Madrid and Liverpool midfielder Sahin scored his first two goals since returning to Borussia in January from Anfield.
Having fallen behind to an early Jonathan Schmid goal, Dortmund grabbed the game by the scruff on the neck to flatten Freiburg with three goals in five minutes at the end of the first half.
Lewandowski opened the floodgates when he broke Timo Konietzka’s club record from 1964/65 with his eighth goal in consecutive league games on 41 minutes.
But the Poland star is well short of Gerd Mueller’s Bundesliga record of a goal in 14 consecutive games for Bayern Munich.
Having provided the free-kick for Lewandowski to head home the first, defensive midfielder Sahin then slammed home a goal of his own on 44 minutes before Lewandowski added his second in the first minute of stoppage time.
After Mario Goetze was denied a penalty appeal, Sahin volleyed home his second on 73 minutes.
The rout was wrapped up when 19-year-old Leonardo Bittencourt scored his first Bundesliga goal, two minutes after coming off the bench, on only his second league appearance on 78 minutes when he tapped home a Lewandowski cross.
Schalke were hammered 3-0 at Nuremberg to drop down to fifth in the league and out of the Champions League places, having been dumped out of Europe’s top domestic competition with a home defeat to Galatasaray on Tuesday.
Ex-Dortmund midfielder Markus Feulner put Nuremberg ahead before Alexander Esswein converted a pass from Japan’s Hiroshi Kiyotake for the hosts second as the Japanese star again provided the final pass for Mike Frantz to score the third.
Relegation-threatened Augsburg picked up their fourth win in their last 10 games to keep their survival hopes alive with a 1-0 win at Hamburg, seventh, but the Bavarian team remains five points from safety at the bottom.
Werder Bremen midfielder Aaron Hunt converted two second half-penalties to give his mid-table team a point in their 2-2 draw at bottom side Greuther Fuerth.
On Sunday, fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt are home to VfB Stuttgart, who are just once above the bottom three, while mid-table Borussia M’gladbach host Hanover 96.