Bayern silence critics after tough week; Dortmund smack Paderborn

BY Ross Dunbar • April 18, 2015

To end a week that saw Jurgen Klopp announce his departure, Borussia Dortmund beat Paderborn 3-0 and moved within three points of a European position.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan headed in the opener, his second of the season, minutes after the restart before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rifled home on 55 minutes. Shinji Kagawa capped off a bright, yet emotional afternoon at Signal Iduna Park as the era of Dortmund's longest-serving coach approaches its end.

Paderborn was perky in the opening exchanges, perhaps buoyed from the 2-1 win over Augsburg last weekend. But Andre Breitenreiter's unchanged side looked like a second-tier team in possession and the home side contrastingly turned out one of their strongest displays in months.

On 12 minutes, midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, whose future at the club remains uncertain, forced a save from Lukas Kruse. Without Marco Reus in attack, the onus was on Mkhitaryan to influence the game and he was pivotal to Dortmund's fast transitions in attack. On 29 minutes, Jakub Blaszczykowski dispatched one of those rapid breaks past Kruse, but the assistant referee adjudged he was offside.

Stalwart Kruse was busy in the first 30 minutes, denying Aubameyang when the forward was one-against-one and a minute later Mkhitaryan's long-range volley. But he was beaten after the restart when Aubameyang picked out Mkhitaryan -- the Armenian midfielder heading in at the near-post. Eight minutes later, the Gabon striker produced a calm effort to knock the stuffing out of Paderborn.

Dortmund's third came in the last 20 minutes with Kagawa scoring to move the yellow-and-blacks within three points of Augsburg (6th) and five behind Schalke (5th).

Bayern Munich put a tempestuous week behind them with a 2-0 win over Hoffenheim to temporarily extend their lead at the top to 13 points.

Josep Guardiola's worries -- after a 3-1 loss against Porto in the UEFA Champions League, and the resignation of Dr. Muller-Wohlfahrt -- were compounded when Xabi Alonso dropped out of training on Friday and Jerome Boateng lasted ten minutes -- both players didn't start in Hoffenheim and neither did Thiago Alcantara.

The three were replaced by Sebastian Rode, Gianluca Gaudino and Holger Badstuber with Mitchell Weiser starting in place of Philipp Lahm. Despite the starting side being the youngest eleven in three years for the Bavarians, Bayern dominated as Hoffeheim sat off in the early stages -- the shot from energetic Rode's left-foot missing the target on seven minutes.

Anthony Modeste, who scored coming off the bench in the defeat at Cologne last weekend, headed wide of the target in the first quarter of an hour. Two minutes later, Robert Lewandowski headed over the crossbar from Weiser's delivery, the Polish striker passing up Bayern's strongest move of the first-half.

In defense, Dante and Badstuber were paired together and the Brazilian's questionable form continued when he gifted the home side a promising chance on 29 minutes -- hitherto the first shot on target for either side. The centerback mis-controlled a back pass, allowing Modeste to rain down on Manuel Neuer's goal, but unlike Porto's front-three on Wednesday, the French striker could only watch as his shot was blocked by the Bayern skipper.

But the German champions managed to end the half on a high with Rode slamming home a great finish into the top corner on 37 minutes -- the midfielder reacting quickly to Lewandowski's saved shot. Boateng appeared for the restart at fullback, whilst Thiago came thereafter.

Bayern had a little more control on the game with Lewandowski striking the crossbar on 47 minutes. Andreas Beck turned the ball into his own net in stoppage time to add a smile to Guardiola's face after a tough week.

Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen moves into third as they smashed relegation-stricken Hannover who now hasn't won in 13 matches.

Teenager Julian Brandt proved to be a consummate replacement for Karim Bellarabi, the 18-year-old pulling out a man of the match performance as Leverkusen took advantage of Gladbach's draw on Friday evening. In the 20th minute, Leverkusen scored their first goal from a corner kick in 158 attempts with Hakan Calhanoglu picking out Omer Toprak whose glancing header beat Ron-Robert Zieler.

Five minutes before the interval, Brandt took the ball into his path on the left-side of the box and fired the ball into the corner of the net. Emerging as the successor to Emir Spahic who was released from his contract this week, Kyriakos Papadopolous poked the ball home on 49 minutes before Stefan Kiessling added a fourth to the scoreline with 20 minutes to play.

Elsewhere, Mainz's positive form under Martin Schmidt continued as Shinji Okazaki -- this week a supposed target for Chelsea -- bagged a double in a 3-2 win.

Admir Mehmedi scored for the first time since the away clash in Mainz, cutting the deficit after the Japanese forward took his tally to 12 for the season. Yunus Malli headed in a third for the Carnival Club with seven minutes to play to seal the points despite Jonathan Schmid's consolation in stoppage time.

Stuttgart remain second-from-bottom after a 2-1 defeat at Augsburg.

Markus Weinzierl's men took the lead on seven minutes through Tobias Werner, but Stuttgart's "men of the moment" -- Daniel Ginczek and Filip Kostic -- combined and the former leveled on 22 minutes. But the Bavarians grabbed the points with Raul Bobadilla's late winner to consolidate their spot in the European spots.


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