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Despite Bürki Bayern extend lead at the top, Stuttgart win relegation battle

December 17, 2014 3:08 AM
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The Bavarians have won all nine of their Bundesliga home matches this season and were in no mood to ease off against the minnows from the Black Forest. Elsewhere Stuttgart climbed off the bottom with a win at Hamburg.

Bayern Munich opened up a double-digit lead at the top of the Bundesliga with a comfortable 2-0 home win over Freiburg, who slipped to second-bottom.

With free mulled wine on offer underneath the stands and a post-match laser display promised, the runaway leaders added to the festival mood with a dominant performance at the Allianz Arena capped by goals from Arjen Robben and Thomas Müller.

Freiburg had never won in Munich and must have feared the worst when Pep Guardiola - taking charge of Bayern for the 50th time in the Bundesliga having lost only two - fielded an ultra offensive front five of Mario Götze, Müller, Franck Ribery, Robert Lewandowski and Robben.

Bayern dominated possession from the outset on a freezing night in Munich with the best of the early chances falling to Götze. The attacking midfielder stretched to reach a 50-yard cross-field pass from Xabi Alonso but could only prod his shot at Freiburg stopper Roman Bürki, who excelled with a string of fine saves.

The visitors' resolve was finally broken in the 40th minute when Robben finished a smart move begun by Alsono's deft lob over the top of the Freiburg defense to Ribery, who headed square for Robben to nod home. It was the Dutchman's 100th goal for Bayern in all competitions.

Müller's stab goalwards was palmed onto the post by Roman Bürki as Bayern pushed for a second before half-time, but thanks to their goalkeeper Freiburg kept the scoreline respectable.

Bayern's second soon after the restart owed everything to the industry of Robben and the neat control and cross of wing-back Juan Bernat. Müller found himself in the right place at the right time and was as brave as ever to head home despite the attentions of a Freiburg defender.

Bernat was then denied twice in the space of 30 seconds, first by the irrepressible Bürki and then by the upright, as Bayern looked to force home their advantage.

It was not all plain sailing for Bayern, however, as Mehdi Benatia, Lewandowski and Alonso all went off injured for the home side.

Hamburg's status as the only ever-present member of the Bundesliga again looks under threat after they crashed to a 1-0 defeat to fellow strugglers Stuttgart to end a three-match winning home run.

Scoring goals has been the problem for Hamburg this season and they could not improve on a meagre return of only nine in the Bundesliga to date, even when playing against the ten men of Stuttgart for most of the second half at the Imtech Arena.

Stuttgart started the more positive of the two teams. Martin Harnik blazed over from close range in the 15th minute when it looked easier to score, while Georg Niedermeier saw his 35th-minute header cleared off the line by Lewis Holtby.

The pressure told as just before half-time Austrian international Florian Klein benefitted from some slack Hamburg defending to slot home his first goal of the season from just inside the box.

Hamburg were handed a lifeline early in the second half when Niedermeier hauled down Artjoms Rudnevs on the edge of the area and was adjudged to have been the last defender, earning him a straight red card. Van der Vaart can count himself unlucky to have curled the resulting free-kick onto the crossbar, but it was the closest the home side came to scoring.

After suffering 3-1 defeats in their previous two home matches, Hannover walked out to swathes of empty seats in the HDI-Arena, but rewarded their hardcore fans with a 2-0 win over Augsburg.

Salif Sane gave Hannover the lead on his first start of the season, but he did not know much about his 19th-minute header, as the ball deflected into the net off the back of the Senegalese international's head after a flick-on from a corner.

Joselu doubled Hannover's advantage with a 54th-minute penalty which extended his scoring streak to four in four games.

Hiroshi Kiyotake had a third Hannover goal ruled out for offside, but it mattered little as the home side saw out a deserved win.

It was a game of few chances in Cologne as the home side and visitors Mainz played out a drab goalless draw befitting their mid-table positions.

Dominic Maroh found the net for Cologne in the 7th minute, but saw his goal ruled out for the smallest of offside margins. In the second half, Shinji Okazaki struck the bar from 15 yards with 15 minutes to go, but both were rare highlights on a night of few chances.


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