Bayern create further separation with win; Dortmund fall to Hertha

BY Jerry Trecker • December 13, 2014

Bayern Munich emphasized the difference between themselves and any would-be Bundesliga challengers Saturday afternoon, a four-goal second half dismantling Augsburg 4-0 and opening a 10-point gap over second place VfL Wolfsburg which plays Sunday.

Augsburg, one of the surprises of the season, kicked off in third place, and had the distinction of being the last team to hand Bayern a road defeat, some 42 matches ago, but they are now 15 points off the pace. For 45 minutes they played like the confident team they have been in recent weeks while climbing the table as more fancied clubs have dropped way off the pace. But once their resistance was broken they crumbled.

Elsewhere, Hertha Berlin piled more misery on Borussia Dortmund with a 1-0 victory that left BvB third-bottom. Cologne won 2-1 at Schalke while Werder Bremen rallied to draw 3-3 with Hannover. Freiburg and Hamburger SV wound up 0-0 in their relegation-zone battle.

Those results left Werder Bremen second-bottom, but level on points (14) with Dortmund. Both are two clear of last-place VfB Stuttgart which played the night match at FSV Mainz.

Bayern pressed from the start of the second half but back-up keeper Alexander Manninger fisted away a Xabi Alonso chance and Franck Ribery, quite uncharacteristically, pulled an open chance past the near left post in the first ten minutes after the resumption. Those were the last respites for the home side, however.

In the 58th minute, Mehdi Benatia got his head on a Ribery free kick to make it 1-0. Just a minute later Robben scored a beauty, whipping it to the top left corner from the right side, with Ribery again providing the pass to create the space. It was a case of Bayern doing what they do best: Finding the tiniest of openings and exploiting them ruthlessly to take over a match.

It was 3-0 in the 69th minute when Robert Lewandowski beat Manninger from outside, picking the low left corner from about 22 yards away, then Robben got his second a minute later, Manninger rooted to his line as the Dutchman opened up for his patented left-foot drive from 18 yards. The pace on the shot to the right corner beat a late Manninger dive.

Josep Guardiola was able to pair Xabi and Bastian Schweinsteiger in midfield for the first time this Bundesliga season as he continued to utilize his squad depth. Neither Thomas Mueller nor Mario Goetze started as Guardiola looked ahead to matches Tuesday and Friday that complete the pre-Winter Pause schedule.

Dortmund regained the services of Polish midfield standout Jakub Blaszczykowski when he came on as a 34th minute substitute in Berlin, but even that injection of quality did nothing to change the team's fortunes. Kuba,sidelined for the entire season after tearing an ACL last year replaced Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who appeared to pick up a possible hamstring problem.

When Hertha who broke on top in the 40th minute was Julian Schieber scoring against his former club to add to the pain. Per Ciljan Skjelbred did most of the early work, collecting near halfway after Sebastian Kehl lost possession, then zooming down the inside left channel before spotting Schieber on the right. The ex-BvB forward spun past two defenders before beating Mitchell Langerak from close range.

Juergen Klopp swapped out Kehl for his ex-Hertha Berlin striker Adrian Ramos at the interval but a continuing lack of bite and creativity in midfield, meant that the attacks lacked the precision to break down a hard-working Hertha midfield and backline. Klopp was left to pace the sidelines as time ticked off the clock.

Anthony Ujah, with an assist from Yannick Gerhardt, got Cologne ahead in the 47th minute at Gelsenkirchen then Matthias Lehmann added a second from the penalty spot in the 68th. Leroy Sane pulled one back for Schalke in the closing minutes.

Lars Stindl and Zlatko Junuzovic exchanged first half goals at Bremen, the visitors ahead in the 13th minute when Stindl poked home a rebound, before Junuzovic curled a 36th minute free kick to the top left corner to square matters. Melvyn Lorenzen put the home team back ahead 11 minutes after the interval, but Joselu replied with help from Hiroshi Kiyotake in the 62nd for Hannover.

Kiyotake scored himself two minutes later to regain the lead for Hannover before Alejandro Galvez set up Davie Selke to equalize in the 89th minute as the teams shared the points in a six-goal afternoon.

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