Bayern Munich maintained their seven-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday with a 2-0 win at home to third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt.
After Munich’s 6-1 rout of LOSC Lille Metropole on Wednesday in the Champions League, Bayern labored against a dogged Frankfurt defense with Frankfurt having won six of their 11 league games this season on their return to Germany’s top flight.
“It was a hard-fought victory, it is not always easy to flip the switch from Champions League back to Bundesliga and we weren’t as determined as usual,” Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes said. “When things don’t run smoothly, you have to play smart and intelligent football, which is what we did.”
Bayern took the lead just before halftime, when defensive midfielder Javi Martinez set up Franck Ribery to fire home from 5m out on 44 minutes.
Munich doubled their lead when midfielder David Alaba converted a 77th-minute penalty after a foul on midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Schalke 04, in second place, stayed in touch with Bayern after coming from behind to beat Werder Bremen 2-1 in Gelsenkirchen.
Bremen’s Aaron Hunt scored his third goal in two games on 16 minutes to put the visitors ahead at the Veltins Arena.
However, Schalke midfielder Roman Neustaedter celebrated his first call-up to the Germany team on Friday with the equalizer on 59 minutes as he rose highest to a corner and header home.
The 24-year-old has been included by Germany coach Joachim Loew for Wednesday’s friendly with Holland in Amsterdam.
His Germany teammate Julian Draxler then scored Schalke’s second after finishing off a superb counterattack started by Royal Blues goalkeeper Lars Unnerstall on 69 minutes.
Defending champions Borussia Dortmund moved up to fourth with a 3-1 win at bottom side Augsburg.
Having only been denied victory by a late goal at Real Madrid on Tuesday in the 2-2 Champions League draw, Dortmund returned to domestic business with a convincing display.
After Germany midfielder Marco Reus fired home a superb free-kick after eight minutes, Poland striker Robert Lewandowski showed his class with goals on 51 and 70 minutes, before Sascha Moelder scored a late header for Augsburg.
“That was hard work in the first half, it was a very, very tight match, with a wonderful goal for us, then our goalkeeper reacted well to deny Augsburg,” Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp said. “Things were clearly better in the second-half, we scored two nice goals and controlled the game.”
Dortmund are now hard on the heels of third-placed Eintracht and just a point behind, but Bayer 04 Leverkusen can jump from fifth to third if they win at Vfl Wolfsburg on Sunday.
Hamburg SV were held to a goalless draw by SC Freiburg, while ten-man TSG 1899 Hoffenheim drew 1-1 at home to Fortuna Duesseldorf after defender Marvin Compper was sent off for the hosts after a second yellow card.
VfB Stuttgart were to host Hanover 96 yesterday and Greuther Fuerth were home to Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Meanwhile, FSV Mainz 05 coach Thomas Tuchel has said he will make a formal complaint to the German Football Federation about the conduct of the fourth official during Friday’s 2-1 win at home to Nuremberg.