BERLIN: Bayern Munich went 11 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga table on Sunday with a 2-0 win at ten-man VfB Stuttgart and set a new record in the process.
The clean sheet in Stuttgart means Bayern have conceded just seven goals after 19 Bundesliga games, a new German league record, and they also extended their lead at the top of the table.
Second-placed Bayer Leverkusen lost ground after being held to a goalless draw at Freiburg on Saturday.
Despite two wins from two league games in 2013, Bayern’s director of sport Matthias Sammer grumbled over the performance after their 15th league victory.
“We have to get into our rhythm as quickly as possible,” said Sammer, his dissatisfaction stemming from last weekend’s 2-0 laboured win over Fuerth.
“As we were against Greuther Fuerth, we were good, but ‘good’ just won’t cut it for the rest of the season.”
Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic showed again why Germany striker Mario Gomez has to make do with warming Bayern’s bench by scoring the opening goal, then setting up Thomas Mueller for the second to make sure of the three points.
Munich went ahead after a horror back-pass from Stuttgart defender Cristian Molinaro allowed Mandzukic to round the hosts’ goalkeeper Sven Ulreich and fire into an empty net on 50 minutes.
Stuttgart were lucky to escape conceding a penalty when centre-back Georg Niedermeier brought down Munich’s Toni Kroos in the area, but when referee Florian Meyer waved play on, Kroos’ furious protest earned him a booking.
Mandzukic made sure of the three points when he played in a superb cross for Mueller to slot past Ulreich after getting to the ball just ahead of his marker Serdar Tasci on 72 minutes.
Stuttgart had Martin Harnik sent off for the last 10 minutes after frustration got the better of the Austria star who clattered into Franck Ribery’s ankle after the ball had gone and he was shown a second yellow.
Earlier, Hamburg won the north German derby with a 3-2 victory at home as Werder Bremen finished with nine men. South Korea striker Son Heung-Min scored a great goal for the hosts.
Werder were reduced to nine men after both captain Clemens Fritz and Austria bad-boy striker Marko Arnautovic were shown second yellow cards.
Fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt stayed in the chasing pack with a 2-1 home win over Hoffenheim, who dropped to second from bottom.
With speculation rife over whether Germany midfielder Lewis Holtby will join Tottenham Hotspur before January’s transfer window closes, his Schalke 04 were held to a goalless draw at relegation candidates Augsburg.
Holtby, whose contract ends in June, will join Spurs for next season and, although the North London club want to sign him sooner, Schalke have rejected all their offers for the 22-year-old so far.
Schalke have won just once in eight games and drop to sixth, while the hosts moved up to 16th.
Mainz moved up to fifth with a workmanlike 3-0 win at bottom side Greuther Fuerth as former Real Madrid striker Adam Szalai scored twice.
Borussia Moenchengladbach enjoyed a 2-1 win at home to Fortuna Duesseldorf to claim seventh place.
Despite having defender Sebastien Pocognoli sent off for a dangerous foul just 34 minutes into his Bundesliga debut after joining from Standard Liege last week, 10-man Hanover 96 claimed a 2-1 victory over Wolfsburg.
Defending champions Borussia Dortmund enjoyed an impressive 3-0 win at home to Nuremberg on Friday to stay third and are at Leverkusen next Sunday. -AFP
- Heynckes content as Bayern extend lead
- Hoffenheim’s Ibisevic set to join Stuttgart
- Stuttgart captain Tasci out for season
- Bayern beats Stuttgart 2-0 to reach semifinals
- Bayern score six against shoddy Stuttgart