Bayern Munich cruise, Leverkusen drop points in Bundesliga

Berlin, March 9: Bayern Munich continued their relentless run with a goal fest at Wolfsburg while third placed Leverkusen shared the spoils with Hannover in the 24th round of Bundesliga football Saturday.

Bayern came from behind to crush resilient Wolfsburg 6-1. The “Bavarians” underlined their title-defence ambitions after their 16th consecutive win creating a 23-point lead atop the standings, reports Xinhua.

The “Wolves” staged an auspicious start as Naldo headed home the opener at the far post following Kevin de Bruyne’s pin point cross in the 17th minute.

The deficit for Bayern seemed to be a wake-up call for Pep Guaridiola’s men when Xherdan Shaqiri cancelled out the stunning opener by Wolfsburg nine minutes later.

Bayern completed their comeback at the hour mark as Thomas Mueller made use of Thiago Alcantara’s through ball beating custodian Diego Benaglio for 2-1.

Wolfsburg seemed dazed, as Bayern were able to extend their lead with four goals within 17 minutes. Mario Mandzukic made it 3-1 with his volley shot from 13 metres into the bottom right in the 66th minute. Frenchmen Franck Ribery added the fourth goal before Mueller and Mandzukic wrapped up their braces to inflict Wolfsburg the ninth loss of the season.

Bayer Leverkusen stopped their losing streak of five matches following a 1-1 draw with Hannover.

Hannover nearly grabbed a perfect start but Leverkusen’s goalkeeper Bernd Leno denied Szabolcs Huszti’s foul play penalty in the fifth minute. Leno already denied five penalties this season.

Leverkusen took the lead at the half-hour mark when Gonzalo Castro’s deflected effort overcame Hannover’s goalie Ron Robert Zieler.

Nonetheless Leverkusen were unable to put the result beyond doubt as Hannover responded minutes later through Artjoms Rudnevs, whose hammer beat Leno into the top left corner. Both sides remain on their positions, Leverkusen stay on third place with 44 points while Hannover occupy 11th place with 26 points.

Schalke recover from two heavy defeats as Klaas Jan Huntelaar helped his side beat Hoffenheim 4-0.

The Dutchman ensured a bright start for the “Royal Blues” when he broke the deadlock with just six minutes into the game. Huntelaar made it two following a successful fast break in the 28th minute, beating Hoffenheim’s goalkeeper Koen Casteels from 16 metres into the bottom right.

Huntelaar took the liberty to squander one penalty when he tried to beat Casteels, who denied the Dutchman with a save four minutes later.

Hoffenheim pressed to reduce the arrear but instead Schalke got their third when Chinedu Obasi exploited a square pass by Kevin Prince Boateng ten minutes into the second half.

The third goal took the wind out of Hoffenheim’s sails, as Huntelaar was not done with the scoring when he completed his hat trick and a 4-0 win in the 79th minute.

Elsewhere, Monchengladbach still wait for their first win in 2014 as Lucien Favre’s men lost 1-2 to Augsburg.

Stuttgart stopped their eight-game losing streak as the “VfB” shared points with bottom side Braunschweig following a 2-2 draw.

Hamburg wasted the chance to grab vital points at the relegation battle as they drew 1-1 with Frankfurt and Bremen jump from 13th to 11th place following their 2-0 victory over Nuremberg on the road.

IANS