Bay­ern de­feat Hertha to put ti­tle on ice

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY CIARAN FA­HEY

Bas­tian Sch­we­in­steiger scored with 10 min­utes re­main­ing for Bay­ern Mu­nich to beat Hertha Ber­lin 1-0 and move even closer to the Bun­desliga ti­tle on Satur­day.

Mitchell Weiser eluded four Hertha de­fend­ers and cut the ball back for Sch­we­in­steiger to score with a fine strike to the top cor­ner.

Bay­ern will claim its 25th Ger­man ti­tle on Sun­day if sec­ond­place Wolfs­burg fails to beat Borus­sia Moenchenglad­bach away.

De­spite dom­i­nat­ing pos­ses­sion, Bay­ern strug­gled to cre­ate chances in an un­event­ful first half.

The best chance fell to Nico Schulz early in the sec­ond, but the Hertha mid­fielder was de­nied by Bay­ern goal­keeper Manuel Neuer in a one-on-one sit­u­a­tion.

Bay­ern in­creased the pres­sure in the fi­nal 15 min­utes, with Robert Le­wandowski forc­ing a smart save from re­serve Hertha ‘keeper Sascha Burchert and Sch­we­in­steiger hit­ting the post be­fore Weiser’s de­ci­sive run.

“I think it’s a de­served win for Bay­ern. Com­pli­ments on the Ger­man cham­pi­onship,” Hertha coach Pal Dar­dai said.

The 18- year- old Si­nan

Kurt played the sec­ond half in his com­pet­i­tive de­but for Bay­ern.

“We have to get through the next cou­ple of weeks. We had a lot of in­juries, not many breaks, it’s not easy. Ev­ery game is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant now,” Bay­ern coach Pep Guardi­ola said.

Bay­ern next has a home semi­fi­nal against Borus­sia Dort­mund in the Ger­man Cup on Tues­day. Two games against Barcelona await Guardi­ola’s team in the Cham­pi­ons League semi­fi­nals.

Ear­lier, Pierre-Michel La­sogga scored twice as Ham­burger SV boosted its chances of avoid­ing rel­e­ga­tion with a 3-2 win over Augs­burg.

Ivica Olic scored Ham­burg’s first goal in seven games in the 11th minute and La­sogga headed in the sec­ond eight min­utes later, only for Raul Bobadilla to pull one back for the vis­i­tors six min­utes af­ter that.

To­bias Werner equal­ized with a pre­cise ef­fort in­side the left post in the 69th, but La­sogga an­swered two min­utes later with a fierce ef­fort to the roof of the net for Ham­burg’s first win in 10 games.

“I had the feel­ing I was get­ting more and more into shape the last few weeks. You have to earn your luck,” La­sogga said. “We have to keep go­ing. The rel­e­ga­tion battle is re­ally ex­cit­ing.”

Ham­burg climbed off the bot­tom to the rel­e­ga­tion play­off place. It’s one point above Stuttgart — which drew 2-2 at home with Freiburg — and one be­low Han­nover, which lost 2-1 at home to Hof­fen­heim.

Pader­born slipped to last place but has to play Werder Bre­men on Sun­day. Only four rounds re­main af­ter the week­end’s games.

Dort­mund moved three points be­hind Augs­burg in the last Europa league qual­i­fi­ca­tion place by de­feat­ing Ein­tra­cht Frank­furt 2-0 at home and third-place Bayer Lev­erkusen drew 1-1 in the Rhine derby at Cologne.

“It’s a great point be­cause it en­sures that we fin­ish at least in fourth place,” Lev­erkusen coach Roger Sch­midt said of the Cham­pi­ons league play­off place. Third en­sures di­rect qual­i­fi­ca­tion for Europe’s pre­mier com­pe­ti­tion.

In Dort­mund, Pierre- Em­er­ick Aubameyang’s coolly taken penalty put the home side ahead in the 24th, and the Gabon for­ward turned provider eight min­utes later for Shinji Ka­gawa to seal the re­sult against a harm­less Frank­furt side miss­ing in­jured top-scorer Alexander Meier.

Lev­erkusen teenager Ju­lian Brandt struck on the hour in Co- logne, be­fore sub­sti­tute Bard Finne earned the home side a point with seven min­utes re­main­ing.

Michael Frontzeck’s ten­ure at Han­nover got off to a bad start when Hof­fen­heim’s An­thony Modeste scored in the sec­ond minute. TV re­plays showed the French striker was off­side.

Lars Stindl equal­ized with a penalty in the 24th, only for Sven Schip­plock to score late for the vis­i­tors.

“It’s a rel­e­ga­tion battle and with one good attack Hof­fen­heim claimed the win­ner,” said Frontzeck, who re­placed the fired Tay­fun Korkut on Mon­day. “I saw a good game from my team. I’m still op­ti­mistic.”

Han­nover is 14 games with­out a win.

Stuttgart started well with Daniel Ginczek scor­ing in the 24th, three min­utes be­fore Filip Kos­tic crossed for Martin Harnik to make it 2-0.

But Adam Hlousek was booked for giv­ing away a penalty, con­verted by Nils Peter­son in the 58th, and then earned a sec­ond yel­low card in sim­i­lar fash­ion eight min­utes later.

Peter­son claimed his sec­ond goal with five min­utes to go for Freiburg to stay two points clear of dan­ger.

AP

Ber­lin’s John An­thony Brooks, of the U.S., left, and Bay­ern’s Dante, of Brazil chal­lenge for the ball dur­ing the Ger­man first di­vi­sion Bun­desliga soc­cer match be­tween FC Bay­ern Mu­nich and Hertha BSC at the Al­lianz Arena in Mu­nich, Ger­many on Satur­day, April 25.

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