Mon, Mar 18, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Bayern beat Leverkusen to be two wins from title


Borussia Dortmund’s Robert Lewandowski, right, scores with a header against SC Freiburg in their Bundesliga match in Dortmund, Germany, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Bayern Munich are just two wins from the Bundesliga title after their 2-1 victory at Bayer 04 Leverkusen on Saturday allowed them to stay 20 points clear at the top of the table.

They have won 21 of their 26 league games this season and now only need to beat Hamburg SV at home next Saturday, then win at Eintracht Frankfurt on April 6 to have their 23rd Bundesliga title confirmed.

Bayern are also eyeing the UEFA Champions League title. Despite losing 2-0 to Arsenal on Wednesday last week, they still reached the quarter-finals on away goals to face Juventus.

With captain Philipp Lahm, winger Thomas Mueller and striker Mario Mandzukic all rested for the trip to Leverkusen, Germany forward Mario Gomez showed his strength with the opening goal on 37 minutes.

Leverkusen, the only team to beat Bayern in the Bundesliga this year, pulled a goal back when Simon Rolfes exploited some poor defending to score from a corner on 75 minutes, but Bayern took the three points when Bastian Schweinsteiger’s free-kick deflected off the shoulder of Leverkusen’s Philipp Wollscheid into his own net on 87 minutes.

“It’s always difficult to win at Leverkusen, it’s only their second league defeat at home this season,” Germany international Schweinsteiger said. “They are always dangerous on the counterattack. We conceded a standard goal which Jupp Heynckes has prepared us to defend against hundreds of times, which is annoying.”

Earlier, second-placed Borussia Dortmund routed SC Freiburg 5-1, with Poland’s Robert Lewandowski and Turkey’s Nuri Sahin both scoring twice.

Borussia Dortmund, who face Malaga in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League, ran riot at Signal Iduna Park as Lewandowski set a new club record of scoring in each of his past eight league games.

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 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.

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, after 78 minutes when he tapped home a Lewandowski cross.

Schalke 04 were hammered 3-0 at Nuremberg to drop down to fifth and out of the Champions League places, having been dumped out of Europe’s top competition with a home defeat to Galatasaray on Tuesday last week.

Former Dortmund midfielder Markus Feulner put Nuremberg ahead, before Alexander Esswein converted a pass from Hiroshi Kiyotake for the hosts second, before the Japanese star again provided the final pass for Mike Frantz to score the third.

Relegation-threatened Augsburg picked up their fourth victory in their past 10 games to keep their survival hopes alive with a 1-0 win at seventh-placed Hamburg SV, but the Bavarian team remain five points from safety.

Werder Bremen midfielder Aaron Hunt converted two second half-penalties to give his midtable team a point in their 2-2 draw at bottom side SpVgg Greuther Furth, while TSG 1899 Hoffenheim were held to a goalless draw at home by FSV Mainz 05.

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