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Bayern ease past Duesseldorf to reclaim top spot

Updated April 15, 2019

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DUESSELDORF: Bayern Munich’s Thomas Mueller attempts to divert a Kingsley Coman cross into the goal during the Bundesliga match against Fortuna Duesseldorf  on Sunday.—AP
DUESSELDORF: Bayern Munich’s Thomas Mueller attempts to divert a Kingsley Coman cross into the goal during the Bundesliga match against Fortuna Duesseldorf on Sunday.—AP

BERLIN: Champions Bayern Munich eased past hosts Fortuna Duesseldorf 4-1 on Sunday with winger Kingsley Coman scoring twice, to go a point clear at the top of the Bundesliga.

The Bavarians are on 67 points, with Borussia Dortmund on 66 after their 2-1 win over Mainz 05 on Saturday, and five games left in the title race. RB Leipzig are in third place on 58.

Bayern pressed high from the start and it paid off when Coman found space to cross into the box, Thomas Mueller failed get a foot on it and the ball sailed past keeper Michael Rensing in the 15th minute.

Bundesliga leading scorer Robert Lewandowski came close to adding another one in the 23rd, but his freekick from the edge of the box flew narrowly wide.

Despite more than 60 per cent possession, the visitors struggled at times with an agile and hard-working Duesseldorf defence until Coman struck again four minutes from halftime.

The Frenchman drilled in Joshua Kimmich’s cutback, his 11th assist this season and the league leaders picked up after the break where they had left off with Serge Gnabry slotting in from a metre out in the 55th to give them a three-goal cushion.

Bayern, chasing a record-extending seventh straight league title, could have scored several more in the second half but Rensing, a former Bayern keeper, made a string of superb saves.

The hosts got a late consolation goal with a Dodi Lukebakio penalty from a Mats Hummels handball but Leon Goretzka scored Bayern’ fourth in stoppage time.

Earlier on Sunday, Arsenal loanee Reiss Nelson scored his first goal since November as Hoffenheim secured a 2-0 win over Hertha Berlin to climb back into the Bundesliga top six.

Nelson, 19, came off the bench to add to Nadiem Amiri’s first-half opener and seal three crucial points in the race for European qualification.

Only two points separate sixth-place Hoffenheim from VfL Wolfsburg in ninth, with Werder Bremen and Bayer Leverkusen also in the running for a Europa League spot.

Amiri broke the deadlock near the half hour mark, smashing the ball in off the post with his side’s 14th shot on goal. Nelson’s 78th minute header, which was given by VAR after being initially ruled out for offside, sealed the win for Hoffenheim.

On Saturday, Jadon Sancho scored twice for Dortmund to help them get over their 5-0 drubbing at Bayern Munich the week before.

Two early goals from England international Sancho appeared to put Dortmund on course for an easy victory, but they were forced to weather a second-half onslaught from Mainz with Robin Quaison pulling one back in the 84th minute and Roman Buerki making three successive saves from Ridle Baku, only stopping the ball on the line.

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2019