Bayern Munich trimmed Borussia Dortmund’s lead at the top of the Bundesliga back to three points on Saturday as the Bavarians’ 1-0 win at Nuremberg heated up the title race with six games left.
After champions Dortmund were held to a dramatic 4-4 draw at home to VfB Stuttgart on Friday night, second-placed Bayern seized their opportunity, with Dutch winger Arjen Robben hitting the winner.
The win was also a perfect boost ahead of tomorrow’s home Champions League quarter--final second-leg tie against Olympique de Marseille, which Bayern start with a 2-0 lead.
“Things are back in our own hands now in all competitions,” Bayern director of sport Christian Nerlinger said. “I trust the team, they are showing they can cope with a game every three days and their stamina is right up there. I look forward to the final sprint.”
In Nuremberg, Munich were frustrated by their hosts’ robust defense, but after Germany striker Mario Gomez was harshly ruled offside having found the net, Robben put the Bavarians ahead just moments later.
Bayern midfielder Toni Kroos chipped over the Nuremberg defense and although Franck Ribery’s shot was blocked by goalkeeper Raphael Schaefer, Robben was on hand to fire home on 69 minutes.
Dortmund host Bayern at home on April 11 in a showdown which could decide the Bundesliga title with the season scheduled to end on May 5 and the pair also contest the German Cup final on May 12.
“We are not looking at Dortmund, we just want to win our games” said Bastian Schweinsteiger, who played the last 35 minutes in Nuremberg as he returns from injury, but who is suspended for the visit of Marseille. “You can really feel the absolute will of the team at the moment. Clearly we want the title. I’m still not 100 percent, but every minute I play is good.”
Hertha BSC Berlin’s woes continued as they were drubbed 4-1 at home by VfL Wolfsburg to remain second from bottom of the table and four points from safety, as former Germany striker Patrick Helmes netted twice in the rout.
SC Freiburg stay clear of the relegation zone after picking up their third straight win and they have gone five games without defeat after they earned a 2-0 win at Bayer 04 Leverkusen, who produced a poor performance.
Cologne dropped into the bottom three for the first time since August after they were beaten 2-1 at Augsburg.
South Korea midfielder Koo Ja-cheol hit Augsburg’s opening goal on 19 minutes, but Cologne’s Germany star Lukas Podolski, who is tipped to join Arsenal at the end of the season, leveled with a penalty.
On the stroke of halftime, Augsburg’s Angola striker Nando Rafael converted a penalty for the hosts and the win lifted his team to 14th in the table.
FSV Mainz 05 are up to 10th after their 3-0 win at Werder Bremen.
Hungary striker Adam Szalai put his side ahead on 19 minutes, Cameroon forward Eric Choupo-Moting scored the second on 48 minutes after coming on at the break, then he added a third on 74 minutes.
Hamburg SV enjoyed their first win in eight games to climb up to 15th and out of the relegation places with a 1-0 victory over bottom side Kaiserslautern.