Hoffenheim Stun Bayern Munich As Dortmund Ease Past Hamburg
It was Hoffenheim who stopped Bayern Munich’s run by reaping their first victory in 18 encounters between the two sides.
Julian Nagelsmann’s men staged a faultless performance against the German giants and dictated the pace in the first half. Kramaric almost opened the scoring eight minutes into the game before Bayern goalie Sven Ulreich was on guard to deny Nadiem Amiri his side’s best chance following a one-on-one in the 9th minute.
As the match progressed, Bayern seemed to gain more and more control, but it was the hosts who broke the deadlock as Andrej Kramaric hammered home Mats Hummels’ clearance from 18 meters in the 21st minute.
The Bundesliga front-runners remained unimpressed and kept it bowling, while Hoffenheim remained dangerous on the counterattack. Kerem Demirbay should have doubled the lead but Ulreich defused the effort from close range in the 41st minute.
Bayern almost restored parity just before the break but Robert Lewandowski only managed to rattle the woodwork from five meters after a cross from Kingsley Coman.
After the restart, Carlo Ancelotti’s men piled on the pressure and pressed the hosts into defense. However, Bayern remained unable to overcome Hoffenheim custodian Oliver Baumann, who denied Lewandowski and Franck Ribery promising opportunities in the closing period.
With the result, Hoffenheim tightened their third-place spot in the standings after beating Bayern for the first time in their history. The Bundesliga leaders remain atop the standings with 65 points and a 13-point advantage over runners-up Leipzig.
Fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund is close on Hoffenheim’ s heels after the BVB downed Hamburg with one early and two late goals to ensure their 14th win of the season.
Thomas Tuchel’s men caught a bright start on home soil as Gonzalo Castro opened the scoring with 13 minutes played after curling home a free-kick into the top right corner from 20 meters.
Dortmund created a number of opportunities, but Rene Adler denied Aubameyang several chances to extend the lead. Meanwhile, Filip Kostic and Bobby Wood worked out opportunities at the other end of the pitch.
Nevertheless, the hosts cut a better figure in front of the goal area as Aubameyang outpaced Albin Ekdal in a square pass into the path of Shinji Kagawa, who tapped in at the far post in the 81st minute.
Dortmund gained momentum in the closing period and rounded off the game with a third goal when Aubameyang utilized Kagawa’s through ball to round Hamburg goalie Rene Adler for the 25th goal of the season.
With the victory, Dortmund remains at fourth place, one point adrift of third. Hamburg sits at 14th place and in striking distance of the relegation zone.
Elsewhere, Bremen secured their third win in a row after crushing Schalke 3-0 while Cologne edged Eintracht Frankfurt, who are still waiting for a win after five games.
Wednesday will see Mainz host runners-up Leipzig, Monchengladbach meet Berlin, Wolfsburg faces Freiburg, Augsburg encounter Ingolstadt and last-placed Darmstadt will encounter Leverkusen.
(With Inputs From Xinhua)