Bayern cruise past Schalke, Hoffenheim shock Berlin in Bundesliga

Munich, April 17 (IANS) Robert Lewandowski’s brace helped Bayern Munich edge Schalke out 3-0 while Hoffenheim came from behind to down third-placed Berlin 2-1 in the 30th round of Bundesliga football tournament.

Bayern Munich took another step towards their title defence after establishing a 10-point advantage atop the standings here on Saturday. The German giants lacked in penetration against Schalke’s well-organised defense in the first half but after the restart the hosts turned up to score three goals within 19 minutes, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Bundesliga leaders took the reins from the kick-off as Douglas Costa almost scored the opener from close range following a rebound with two minutes on the clock.

The hosts had to wait after the restart to open the scoring as Arturo Vidal headed into the path of Lewandowski, who had no problems to slot home his 26th goal of the season in the 51st minute.

Lewandowski remained in the thick of things as he sealed his brace and his 27th goal in the 65th minute after making use of Rafinha’s pinpoint cross into the box. Schalke were unable to put up resistance allowing Bayern to add another goal to their lead.

Franck Ribery danced his way through Schalke’s territory before the Frenchman teed up for Vidal, who poked home from very close range in the 73rd minute.

With the result, Bayern reaped the 25th victory of the season to establish a 10-point gap to runner-up Dortmund. Schalke stayed on the seventh place.

Hertha Berlin suffered a costly 1-2 loss at midtable Hoffenheim. Hoffenheim climbed out of the Bundesliga bottom after benefitting from their fifth unbeaten game in row.

At the half-hour mark as Berlin broke the deadlock following a set piece after Niklas Stark headed home from a corner with 27 minutes played.

Hoffenheim responded five minutes later as Fabian Schaer nodded home a free kick cross by Nadiem Amiri to restore parity. Both sides staged an evenly balanced second half as either team had their chances to grab the win.

Hoffenheim’s Mark Alexander Uth utilised Niklas Suehle’s assist to grab the 2-1 lead with five minutes from time.

With the third winless game in row, Berlin dropped from the third to the fourth place whereas Hoffenheim jumped on the 13th place to ease their relegation worries.

Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen moved to the third place after overcoming relegation-threatened Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 thanks to the second-half goals from Kevin Kampl, Julian Brandt and Karim Bellarabi.

Struggling Bremen wrapped up three crucial points in the relegation battle as they beat Wolfsburg 3-2 on home soil.

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