German Bundesliga Roundup, Apr. 17
Borussia Dortmund took a giant step toward winning the Bundesliga title on Sunday, beating Freiburg 3-0 at home after second-place Bayer Leverkusen lost 5-1 at Bayern Munich.
"It was the perfect outcome for this match day," Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said.
His side took the lead through Mario Goetze in the 23rd minute, and Robert Lewandowski made it 2-0 before the interval. Grosskreutz scored the goal Dortmund's dominance deserved in the 78th.
Dortmund is eight points ahead of Leverkusen, with four rounds left to play, leading sporting director Michael Zorc to admit: "That was a big step, no question."
Earlier, Mario Gomez's first-half hat trick helped Bayern Munich to its win over Leverkusen, whose coach Jupp Heynckes will take over at the defending champions next season.
"We did everything wrong in the first half, everything that could be done wrong," Heynckes said.
Bayern reclaimed third place in its first game since firing Louis van Gaal as coach.
"I've rarely experienced anything like today," Dortmund defender Mats Hummels said. "Of course now we want to bring the whole big prize back home."
Dortmund deservedly took the lead when Hummels picked out the run of Marcel Schmelzer. He cut the ball back through a host of Freiburg defenders for Goetze to sidefoot beyond goalkeeper Oliver Baumann.
Lewandowski - playing in place of the injured Lucas Barrios - should have scored minutes later but drilled his shot over an empty goal.
The Polish striker made amends when he seized on a mistake from Oemer Toprak before rounding Baumann to score in the 43rd.
Schmelzer, Grosskreutz, Lewandowski and Lukasz Piszczek all missed numerous chances to extend Dortmund's lead, much to the annoyance of Klopp.
Freiburg threatened briefly but could find no way through Dortmund's defense, with Papiss Demba Cisse - who started the weekend as the top scorer with 20 goals - cutting an increasingly forlorn figure up front.
Grosskreutz eventually scored with a simple tap-in from a pass by the 18-year-old Goetze, his 11th assist of the season.
Veteran Brazilian defender Dede, who is leaving Dortmund at the end of the season, came on for Goetze in the 82nd to a rousing welcome from the fans.
"It's 13 years, such a wonderful time, what can I say?" an emotional Dede said afterward.
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Franck Ribery overcame injury worries to start for Bayern, and it was Schweinsteiger's header from a corner by Ribery that struck the unfortunate Leverkusen captain, Simon Rolfes, in the face before going into the net in the 7th.
Leverkusen slowly came into the game with some slick passing moves, before Arturo Vidal's ill-advised back heel in his own penalty area gifted possession to Thomas Mueller. The German international spotted Gomez, who flicked the ball inside the left post from close range in the 28th.
Mueller also created the next goal, racing onto Daniel van Buyten's through ball and crossing for Gomez to finish with ease from six meters (yards) in the 44th.
Gomez completed his hat trick two minutes later to become the league's top scorer on 22 goals, blasting the ball under goalkeeper Rene Adler after being picked out by Schweinsteiger.
"The first two goals were self inflicted," Germany coach Joachim Loew said at halftime.
With the game all but decided, Leverkusen looked short of ideas after the break. A free kick from Renato Augusto sailed harmlessly over the bar in the 52nd, before Hanno Balitsch shot wide under pressure from the impressive Diego Contento.
Heynckes reacted by bringing on Stefan Kiessling for the ineffective Renato Augusto in the 56th, and the striker came close to scoring minutes later when he launched himself at a cross from Balitsch.
Derdiyok capitalized on a defensive mix-up between Van Buyten and Schweinsteiger to score from close range in the 62nd, while Leverkusen midfielder Michael Ballack should have scored against his former side shortly afterward but was unable to direct his header on target.
Derdiyok forced Joerg Butt - back in goal for the erratic Thomas Kraft - into his first save of the game in the 70th.
Ribery extinguished hopes of an unlikely comeback in the 75th, when he played a one-two with Van Buyten before slotting past Adler with ease for his fifth goal of the season.
"That was also a surprise for me, to lead Leverkusen 4-0 at the break," interim Bayern coach Andries Jonker said. "Now we have to ensure that Hannover stay behind us."