Bay­ern closer to Bun­desliga ti­tle with win over Hof­fen­heim

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY CIARAN FA­HEY

Borus­sia Dort­mund’s new-found in­spi­ra­tion led to a 3-0 win over Pader­born while Bay­ern Mu­nich closed in on the Bun­desliga ti­tle with a 2-0 win at Hof­fen­heim on Satur­day.

It was Dort­mund’s first game since Juer­gen Klopp an­nounced on Thurs­day his end-of-sea­son de­par­ture af­ter seven years at the club.

Se­bas­tian Rode’s 38th-minute strike and an own goal from An­dreas Beck in in­jury time were enough for Bay­ern to move an­other step to claim­ing the ti­tle. Bay­ern could wrap it up next week­end if Wolfs­burg loses to Schalke on Sun­day.

Dort­mund’s win moved the side five points off Schalke in the last Europa League qual­i­fi­ca­tion spot, one week af­ter be­ing just six points clear of the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

Also, Bayer Lev­erkusen routed Han­nover 4-0 to move to third, Mainz won 3-2 at Freiburg, and Hertha Ber­lin drew 0-0 with vis­it­ing Cologne.

Raul Bobadilla struck in the 73rd minute for Augs­burg to beat strug­gling Stuttgart 2-1 in the late game and move pro­vi­sion­ally fifth, above Schalke. Augs­burg goal­keeper Mar­win Hitz pulled off great saves as the vis­i­tors failed to climb out of the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

Dort­mund’s Pierre- Em­er­ick Aubameyang wasted the best chance of a la­bored first half when Pader­born goal­keeper Lukas Kruse saved his at­tempted chip, but turned provider for Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan to break the dead­lock just af- ter half­time, and then lifted the ball over Kruse to score seven min­utes later.

Shinji Ka­gawa showed his class by con­trol­ling Mkhi­taryan’s cross with his chest, leav­ing a de­fender flail­ing, and fin­ish­ing coolly near the end for his third goal of the sea­son.

The buildup to Bay­ern’s game was dom­i­nated by the un­ex­pected res­ig­na­tion of long­time team doc­tor Hans-Wil­helm Mueller-Wohlfahrt fol­low­ing the side’s Cham­pi­ons League quar­ter­fi­nal first-leg de­feat, 3-1 at Porto.

With sev­eral stars out in­jured, coach Pep Guardi­ola nev­er­the­less opted to start Xabi Alonso, Jerome Boateng, and Thi­ago Al­can­tara on the bench in prepa­ra­tion for Tues­day’s sec­ond leg in Mu­nich.

Hof­fen­heim for­ward An­thony Modeste should have scored af­ter a Dante mis­take in the 30th, only to be de­nied by Manuel Neuer’s trail­ing leg.

Rode ended the stale­mate when he took the ball away from a de­fender with his first touch and curled in­side the far post with his next.

Rode was lucky not to con­cede a penalty min­utes later, with TV re­plays show­ing he fouled Eu­gen Polan­ski in the area.

Bay­ern dom­i­nated the sec­ond half. Robert Le­wandowski skimmed the cross­bar and Thi­ago was de­nied by Oliver Bau­mann, who also saved from Thomas Mueller on the re­bound.

It was Mueller who forced Beck to con­vert into his own net.

Lev­erkusen took ad­van­tage of Borus­sia Moenchenglad­bach’s score­less draw on Fri­day to go ahead on goal dif­fer­ence

Omer To­prak and Ju­lian Brandt made it 2-0 for the home side by half­time. Soon af­ter, Kyr­i­akos Papadopoulos ham­mered the ball home, and Ste­fan Kiessling claimed No. 4, al­beit from an off­side po­si­tion.

Han­nover’s 13th game with­out a win in­creases the pres­sure on coach Tay­fun Korkut with the side just two points above Pader­born.

Ja­pan striker Shinji Okazaki was the hero in Freiburg, get­ting Mainz off the mark in the 39th minute and mak­ing it 2-0 af­ter a goal­mouth scram­ble in the 45th.

Ad­mir Mehmedi pulled one back with a fierce shot to the top cor­ner in the 81st, only for Yunus Malli to score what proved the win­ner three min­utes later. Jonathan Schmid claimed Freiburg’s con­so­la­tion in in­jury time.

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