MUNICH: Bayern Munich moved 11 points clear in the Bundesliga on Saturday as Thomas Mueller scored twice in their 3-1 comeback win at Hanover 96.
It was the perfect preparation for Bayern’s Champions League tie with Shakhtar Donetsk as a stunning first-half free kick by Spain star Xabi Alonso and a Mueller penalty saw Bayern hit back after Japan midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake had given the hosts a shock lead.
It was only the fourth time Bayern have gone behind in Germany’s top tier this season.
But Bayern made sure of the three points when Franck Ribery’s pinpoint cross was headed home by Mueller on 72 minutes to give Bayern their 19th win in 24 league matches.
Pep Guardiola’s Bayern face Donetsk at Munich’s Allianz Arena on Wednesday with a Champions League quarter-final place at stake having been held to a goalless draw in their last 16, first leg tie in Ukraine.
The Bavarian giants extended their lead after second-placed VfL Wolfsburg suffered their first defeat since losing to Everton in the Europa League last November when they lost 1-0 at Augsburg when midfielder Dominik Kohr converted a second-half penalty.
Schalke 04, having lost their Champions League first leg 2-0 to holders Real Madrid in Gelsenkirchen, warmed up for the return on Tuesday with a 3-1 win at home to Hoffenheim for their first win in five games.
Teenage midfielder Max Meyer profited from two Eric Choupo-Moting crosses to score for Schalke either side of half-time after Austria left-back Christian Fuchs had given the Royal Blues an early lead.
Germany winger Kevin Volland pulled a late goal back to give Hoffenheim a glimmer of hope.
Borussia Dortmund remain unbeaten in their last five league games after their goalless draw at Hamburg kept them 10th.
Having suffered back-to-back defeats to Wolfsburg and second division Arminia Bielefeld in the third round of the German Cup, Werder Bremen got back to winning ways with a 1-0 win at strugglers Freiburg.
Argentine striker Franco di Santo claimed his sixth goal in as many league games when he curled his long-range shot around Freiburg goalkeeper Roman Burki on 35 minutes to leave Werder eighth, having been 18th last December.
Dutchman Huub Stevens remains Stuttgart’s coach despite a goalless draw at home to fellow-strugglers Hertha Berlin which left them bottom of the table with one win in their last ten games.
There were ugly scenes before and after the match as 12 police officers were injured during rioting between rival fans near the stadium. (AFP)