Bayern Munich extended their lead at the top to 22 points this weekend with a 3-0 victory over FC Augsburg in a battle of Bavarian teams. The champions did not break through until Thomas Müller’s close range header from Dante’s cross in the 69th minute.
It was the German forward’s 13th Bundesliga goal of the season and had been denied by a very good save from Alex Manninger in the first half from a close-range header. Xherdan Shaqiri made it 2-0 eight minutes from time with an effort on the spin from 6 yards out after Franck Ribery had squeezed a pass in between three Augsburg defenders.
Luiz Gustavo added a third 3 minutes from time with a 20-yard effort that went under the Austrian goalkeeper who had otherwise played well. Ji Dong-Won had two penalty claims waived away and a deflected effort loop onto the crossbar as Manuel Neuer was the only goalkeeper in the Bundesliga to keep a clean sheet this weekend. After the full-time whistle the Bayern Munich players and staff collected and celebrated with the Bundesliga shield.
The Bavarians lead at the top was extended by a further two points this weekend as Borussia Dortmund were held in an entertaining 3-3 draw in Wolfsburg. Sven Bender had given Jürgen Klopp’s side the lead inside 5 minutes before the Wolves hit back with three goals in the space of 13 minutes.
Ivan Perisic, a January signing from Dortmund scored the first two before Naldo gave the home side a 3-1 lead at half-time. Marco Reus scored a brace in the final seven minutes to rescue a point for the visitors who are unbeaten in their last eight league games. Wolfsburg are now unbeaten in their last nine in the Bundesliga.
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Hamburg have an outside chance of finishing in sixth and qualifying for next season’s Europa League. With a goal difference of -10 they will require Wolfsburg to win at Eintracht Frankfurt to give them a chance, and then need to beat Bayer Leverkusen on the final day themselves. HSV moved to within 2 points of Frankfurt with a 4-1 win at Hoffenheim. Heung-Min Son and Dennis Aogo gave the visitors a 2-0 half-time lead denting Hoffenheim’s chances of survival. Petr Jiracek made it 3-0 before Kevin Volland pulled one back for the home side. Artjoms Rudņevs made the scoreline emphatic with his 12th league goal of the season.
Borussia Mönchengladbach’s chances of qualifying for next season’s Europa League are even slimmer than Hamburg’s. They require Frankfurt to lose, Hamburg not to win, and to pick up 3 points at home to Bayern Munich themselves, whilst turning a 6 goal goal difference around on the team currently in sixth. Anyway, Gladbach were 4-2 winners at Mainz 05 this weekend with 20-year old Branimir Hrgota scoring a hat-trick in his first-ever Bundesliga start. The Swede has failed to score in 11 substitute appearances this season.
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At the other end of the table, the bottom four sides all lost this weekend meaning 2 points separate Fortuna Düsseldorf (15th – 30 points), FC Augsburg (16th – 30 points) and 1899 Hoffenheim (17th – 28 points). These teams will be fighting for the last automatic safety spot and the relegation playoff place whilst avoiding the automatic relegation spot.
Fortuna Düsseldorf travel to Hannover 96 next Saturday, FC Augsburg host stranded bottom of the league Greuther Fürth and 1899 Hoffenheim visit Borussia Dortmund.
The side finishing third from bottom will face 1. FC Kaiserslautern in this season’s relegation playoff after the Red Devils secured third place in the 2. Bundesliga with a win at Jahn Regensburg. Hertha Berlin are the champions whilst Eintracht Braunschweig have been promoted as runners-up.