Mueller double earns Bayern win over Darmstadt
BERLIN (Reuters) - Bayern Munich's Thomas Mueller scored twice, including a 71st- minute bicycle kick, to given the Bundesliga leaders a 3-1 victory over Darmstadt 98 on Saturday and lift them 11 points clear at the top of the table.
Mueller scored both goals in the second half as Bayern, who face Juventus in the Champions League round of 16 next week, had to battle from a goal down against the promoted club.
Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski, in fine form, completed Bayern's turnaround in the 84th minute with his 22nd goal of the campaign.
The hosts twice came close through Lewandowski in a one-sided start with Bayern pressing for an early goal and Darmstadt forced to defend desperately.
Arturo Vidal's shot was tipped over the bar and Arjen Robben failed to beat the keeper in a golden one-on-one opportunity as Bayern had chances galore.
The hosts were punished for their wastefulness when Darmstadt's Sandro Wagner beat central defender Serdar Tasci at the near post to head in a cross and silence the 75,000 home crowd.
Bayern, however, kept up the pressure and Douglas Costa rattled the bar with a thundering shot immediately after the visitors went ahead.
The pressure finally paid off early in the second half with Mueller chesting a ball down and slotting in for his 16th goal of the campaign.
Germany international Mueller topped that with an even better effort, again controlling the ball with his chest in the box and scoring with a bicycle kick as Darmstadt ran out of steam.
Lewandowski tapped in from close range from a Franck Ribery pass with the Frenchman coming on as a second-half substitute for his first appearance since suffering an injury in December.
Bayern are on 59 points with second-placed Borussia Dortmund, on 48, facing Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)