Bayern Munich claims 9th Bundesliga win for best ever start

BERLIN (AP) Thomas Mueller’s first-half strike was enough for Bayern Munich to win 1-0 at Werder Bremen on Saturday and become the first side to start the Bundesliga with nine victories.

Mueller scored his ninth of the season in the 24th minute when he ran past the static Bremen defense for Thiago Alcantara’s clever ball, then eluded the goalkeeper with his first touch and slotted inside the post with his next.

Bayern had nearly 90 percent possession in the first half and might have had a penalty in either half, first when Robert Lewandowski was held by Alejandro Galvez, and then when he was caught badly above the knee by Bremen goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald’s studs.

"It was a penalty. It’s a pity the referee didn’t give it,” Lewandowski said. ”It would be a bigger issue if it had been decisive but we won. Three points.”

Anthony Ujah missed Bremen’s best chance to equalize when he shot straight at Manuel Neuer.

”We shouldn’t be happy because we only lost 1-0. With a bit more luck we could have gotten a draw. We have to take the positives going forward,” Wiedwald said after his side’s fifth consecutive defeat.

Bayern restored its seven-point lead over Borussia Dortmund with its 999th Bundesliga victory.

”The performance was enough this time but we’ll need more in the coming weeks,” said Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, whose side next faces Arsenal in the Champions League.

Also Saturday, Max Meyer scored in injury time for Schalke to beat 10-man Hertha Berlin 2-1 and consolidate third place, Max Kruse scored a hat trick as Wolfsburg defeated Hoffenheim 4-2, Bayer Leverkusen drew 0-0 at Hamburger SV and promoted Darmstadt won 2-0 at Augsburg.

Darmstadt climbed to ninth thanks to first half strikes from Sandro Wagner and Peter Niemeyer.

Leverkusen, which hosts Roma on Tuesday, slipped to eighth after its fourth draw.

Borussia Moenchengladbach routed Eintracht Frankfurt 5-1 away in the late game to continue its resurgence under interim coach Andre Schubert.

Raffael put the visitors ahead in the 16th on the rebound after Yann Sommer saved Lars Stindl’s initial effort.

Sommer gave away a penalty for bringing down Luc Castaignos and Alexander Meier duly equalized from the spot in the 29th.

Mahmoud Dahoud restored the visitors’ lead with a deflected shot in the 51st and then set up Raffael in the 57th.

Andre Hahn added a penalty in the 82nd after the impressive Dahoud was fouled by Marco Russ, and completed the scoring in the last minute.

`Gladbach has won all four league games since Lucien Favre quit as coach after starting with five defeats.

Schubert’s side next faces Juventus away on Wednesday.

Hertha might have moved third but the capital side’s prospects were damaged when Vedad Ibisevic was sent off for a foul on Meyer in the 18th.

Benedikt Hoewedes put Schalke ahead with a header from a corner on his first league start of the season nine minutes later.

Salomon Kalou equalized with a header to Mitchell Weiser’s cross in the 73rd, only for Meyer’s late strike after some fine work by Leroy Sane to set off the home side’s celebrations.

”I feel sorry for my players,” Hertha coach Pal Dardai said. ”They played very well in the second half, worked very hard and deserved a point. Unfortunately we’re left with empty pockets.”

In Wolfsburg, midfielder Julian Draxler set up Kruse in the first minute and then Bas Dost in the sixth, before Jeremy Toljan pulled one back for Hoffenheim in the 29th.

Jonathan Schmid equalized in the 54th, but Kruse claimed his second in the 62nd and completed his hat trick in the 83rd.

Wolfsburg next plays PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League on Wednesday.