FRANKFURT: Bayern Munich edged closer to an eighth straight Bundesliga title as Hansi Flick’s men came from behind to win in style at Bayer Leverkusen.
The perennial German champions already had one hand on the trophy but tightened their grip as the season enters the closing stages by overcoming Peter Bosz’s Champions League hopefuls.
Leverkusen failed to build on Lucas Alario’s early opener as Bayern put their foot on the gas, with Kingsley Coman, Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski netting in a 4-2 win.
The hosts were without star turn Kai Havertz for the match and failed to build on Alario’s smart stabbed finish as Flick’s men took control at the BayArena.
Coman raced through to coolly level, with Goretzka firing home a fine left-footed shot before Gnabry rubbed salt into the wounds on the stroke of half-time.
Lewandowski’s 44th goal of the season in all competitions ended the tie as a contest, although 17-year-old Florian Wirtz will not forget his late stunner on an afternoon when players wore ‘Black Lives Matter’ armbands.
Emre Can’s second-half strike strengthened Borussia Dortmund’s grip on second as they edged Hertha Berlin 1-0 at Signal Iduna Park, in a match where players from both sides knelt together around the centre circle before the match.
Dortmund players also warmed up for the encounter with T-shirts saying ‘No Justice, No Peace’ and ‘United Together’.
The German Football Association (DFB) announced earlier this week it would not penalise anyone campaigning against racism in the “coming match days” after several players last week paid tribute to George Floyd.
Floyd, an African-American, was killed in Minneapolis last week after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck while in custody. Floyd’s death has sparked protests across the United States and the rest of the world.
It ends an unbeaten start to life as Hertha manager for Bruno Labbadia after beating Hoffenheim, Union Berlin, Augsburg and drawing with Leipzig since the Bundesliga resumed last month.
Top-four chasers RB Leipzig were denied victory in the dying moments when Christian Strohdiek rescued a 1-1 draw for the Bundesliga’s basement side Paderborn.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side were leading after Patrik Schick capped off a fine team move in the first half – watch it, below – before French centre-back Dayot Upamecano saw red after receiving his second booking ahead of the break.
Die Rotten Bullen failed to find another, with Chelsea-bound Timo Werner hitting the woodwork and having four shots in total, before Strohdiek struck two minutes into injury time.
Rouwen Hennings’ double helped struggling Fortuna Dusseldorf to a point with a 2-2 draw at home to 10-man Hoffenheim.
Hennings opened the scoring after five minutes before the visitors’ Benjamin Hubner saw red for a challenge inside nine minutes.
Munas Dabbur levelled Hoffenheim seven minutes later before Hennings had another ruled out by VAR.
Steven Zuber gave Hoffenheim the lead shortly after the hour mark before former West Ham midfielder Havard Nordtveit conceded a penalty, which Hennings successfully converted 14 minutes from time to rescue the point.
Goals from Moussa Niakhate and Pierre Kunde Malong gave Mainz a 2-0 victory at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Achim Beierlorzer’s side had failed to win since returning from the enforced break, extending to a five-match winless run in total.
It boosts their hopes of survival and moves them three points clear of Fortuna Dusseldorf, who occupy the final relegation spot.