Bayern Munich edged closer to the back-to-back Bundesliga title with a routine win against Bayer Leverkusen, extending their unbeaten record to a milestone 50 league matches. Schalke took full advantage of Die Werkself’s seventh defeat in last ten league matches with a hard-fought win at Augsburg courtesy of a brace from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar which opened up a four-point gap between the sides.
Jens Keller’s side also closed the gap with their arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund to just a point after the latter fall short in the clash of the Borussias. Wolfsburg held to a frustrating draw at cellar-dweller Eintracht Braunschweig in the Lower Saxony derby, as the Lions continued to show signs of optimism despite still being everyone’s favorite for relegation.
Mainz and Hannover secured emphatic wins on the road at Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin respectively, while Werder Bremen and Stuttgart shared the spoils at Weser Stadion. On Sunday, Hamburg picked up a priceless win against direct relegation fighters Nürnberg, and Freiburg stunned Eintracht Frankfurt with their first win since the start of the Rückrunde.
Bayern start life without Uli on high note
Bayern München faced the reality check midweek as Uli Hoeneß resigned as club president after being convicted for tax evasion, but it didn’t prevent Pep Guardiola’s side from reaching the milestone of half a century Bundesliga matches without a defeat. The corresponding last season Hinrunde fixture against Bayer Leverkusen resulted in the Bavarian’s last league defeat to date, but they were able to keep the visitors at arm’s length this time around for a comfortable win for the table-toppers, who could settle the dust for the league title before the end of the month with two routine wins. One of the few loyal players of his generation, Bastian Schweinsteiger, hit form at the right time, as he bids for a place in the National team’s starting lineup ahead of this summer’s World Cup, despite having been sidelined for major part of the season.
‘Gladbach and Max Kruse returned in style
Stefan Kießling returned to the scoresheet in the match to no avail, as his strike against Bayern München was a case of too little too late for Sami Hyypia’s troops. But, the end of another personal goal drought by Max Kruse helped Borussia Mönchengladbach for their first win in nine matches, which dates back coincidentally to the last time Kruse found the net. The news of Lucien Favre’s contract extension at the club come at the right time, as Die Fohlen are now only one points shy of the European place after completing the double over Jurgen Klopp’s side, who are struggling to make their home a fortress.
Hertha Berlin slump at home yet again
Hertha Berlin are flirting with the continental football in their immediate return to the top flight league, but their home form is far from helping their case of pushing for the Europa League berth. The capital club suffered a heavy defeat against Hannover, who only picked up their second away win of the season, in the weekend, which left them trailing six-placed Wolfsburg by four points. Hannover endured a huge blow of losing Mame Biram Diouf for the rest of the season before the match, and fellow striker Artjoms Rudnevs had to depart early on for an injury. But they stole the show with Leonardo Bittencourt once again took the accolades for providing two assists, whereas Jan Schlaudraff scored his first goal since November 2012.
Late rally pushed Mainz to fifth
For the first time this season, a Bundesliga match at Hoffenheim failed to produce a goal in the first half, thanks in no small part to Sejad Salihovic’s rare penalty-kick miss. But it was business as usual for the league’s entertainers after the break, as they squandered a two-goal lead against an in-form Mainz side in an end-to-end affair. Shinji Okazaki scored his fourth brace of the season, helping his side climbing into fifth place in the standings
Positive signs in Huub’s debut
Aaron Hunt was in the centerpiece last week with his trustworthy at Nuremberg, and the midfielder continued in his humble behavior when he admitted his free-kick attempt, which secured a point for Robin Dutt’s side against Stuttgart, was not going according to what he had in mind unleashing the effort. Nevertheless, the veteran extended Werder’s unbeaten streak to five matches, which was also started with a late free-kick stunner securing a point against ‘Gladbach. Stuttgart created host of opportunities, and squandered a spot-kick for the second week running, but Huub Stevens will be satisfied with his team’s performance in his debut at the Swabians helm. Despite Freiburg’s win at Eintracht Frankfurt in the last match of the week dropped VFB to the automatic relegation zone, Die Roten will take the initiatives from their recent improved form in their bid to avoid the drop.
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