Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich are in “another league” according to their rivals, with more Bundesliga records set to tumble in this week’s final two rounds of matches for this year.
Bayern host strugglers SC Freiburg today enjoying a nine-point gap at the top of the table, then travel to face midtable FSV Mainz 05 on Friday in their final match before the Bundesliga breaks for the winter.
Freiburg are winless in their past four league games and have never won in Munich after 13 defeats and two draws, having been thrashed 4-0 on their last visit to the Allianz-Arena in February.
“Now we must continue calmly into the next two games to try and take the points up for grabs,” Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.
Having conceded just three goals in 15 league games this season, Guardiola’s team are on course to break the record they hold of seven goals conceded for the first half of a season, set by VfB Stuttgart in 2003-2004 and matched by the Bayern side of 2012-2013.
Having conceded just one away goal so far, they are also on course to equal their own league record for the first half of the season, also set in 2012-2013, at Mainz on Friday.
It comes less than two years after Bayern broke or equaled 25 records when they won the treble of the Bundesliga, the DFB Pokal and the UEFA Champions League titles in 2012-2013 — the first German team to achieve the feat.
“Bayern Munich are in a different league, I think we can all agree on that,” Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl said after his side were thrashed 4-0 at home by Bayern on Saturday. “They have so much quality, so their win was fully deserved.”
Arjen Robben, who scored twice in the romp at third-placed Augsburg to leave him with eight goals in 11 league games, said the champions are relishing the forthcoming winter break to recharge their batteries.
“We now have to survive the last two games and then we’ll finally get a break,” the Dutch winger said.
Long-term injuries to captain Philipp Lahm, David Alaba, Javi Martinez, Thiago Alcantara and Holger Badstuber have barely bothered Guardiola’s star-studded squad.
Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger played 72 minutes of the Augsburg win and is reaching full fitness after a knee injury.
Tomorrow, second-placed VfL Wolfsburg travel to face Borussia Dortmund, with last season’s runners-up having dropped back into the relegation places again after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Hertha BSC.
Despite qualifying for the Champions League’s round-of-16 as group winners, Dortmund started the month bottom of the league and are now 16th, with the league’s worst record of nine defeats in 15 matches.
Coach Juergen Klopp says the 2012-2013 Champions League finalists are an “awesome team with awesome problems.”
Klopp is without both attacking midfielders Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who tore his right thigh in Berlin, and Germany winger Marco Reus, who has been ruled out until next year with torn ankle ligaments.
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World No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying yesterday eased past her Thai opponent to advance to the second round of the Toyota Thailand Open. The Taiwanese star toppled world No. 46 Supanida Katethong 21-16, 21-11 in 29 minutes at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. “I think I played OK today. I am feeling a little better than last week,” Tai said. Tomorrow, Tai faces Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung. The two have faced each other six times, with Tai beating the world No. 21 in all six matches. Tai on Sunday reached the final of the Yonex Thailand Open before losing decisively against Carolina Marin of Spain.
LOOKING TO REPEAT: World No. 7 Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin advanced to the round-of-16 at the Toyota Thailand Open, after winning the Yonex Thailand Open on Sunday Taiwan’s world No. 7 duo yesterday eased past the US’ world No. 37 pairing at the Toyota Thailand Open to reach the round-of-16 in Bangkok. Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin beat Phillip Chew and Ryan Chew 21-14, 21-11 in just 24 minutes. Lee and Wang, who won the men’s doubles title at the Yonex Thailand Open on Sunday, next face the world No. 34 pairing, Canada’s Jason Anthony Ho-Shue and Nyl Yakura. In men’s singles, Taiwan’s world No. 2 Chou Tien-chen again beat Thailand’s world No. 45 Suppanyu Avihingsanon, after edging past the Thai player in the opening round of the Yonex
Three new COVID-19 cases yesterday hit the Australian Open’s troubled buildup as a backlash grew against international tennis players flown in during a raging pandemic. Two of the new cases were players, state health officials said, taking the total infections to seven since more than 1,000 people arrived in largely COVID-19-free Australia on charter flights last week. The Victoria Department of Health and Human Services said that the two players and a third person associated with the tournament — a woman in her 20s, and two men in their 30s — had returned positive results. The year’s first Grand Slam, delayed three weeks,