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.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first