Bayern beats Mainz 2-0 for 18-point Bundesliga lead
BERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich continued its march to a record-extending sixth consecutive Bundesliga title by beating Mainz 2-0 on Saturday.
Second-placed Bayer Leverkusen was held at Freiburg to 0-0, and Schalke lost at home to relegation-threatened Werder Bremen 2-1, as Bayern increased its already commanding lead to 18 points with 13 games remaining.
“With the large gap and other teams’ lack of consistency it really would be a small miracle if we were to let it get exciting again,” Bayern defender Mats Hummels said.
Franck Ribery scored with Bayern’s first effort on goal after a half-hour when Mats Hummels and Sandro Wagner made way to allow his volley from a half-cleared corner fly inside the post.
The French winger was mobbed by teammates in celebration. Ribery’s contract with Bayern is up at the end of the season.
James Rodriguez made it 2-0 before the break, taking Corentin Tolisso’s cross on his chest and sending the ball inside the right post with another volley.
Another victory ensured Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes improved his record to 18 wins in 19 games across all competitions since returning for a fourth stint in charge in October.
“The win is deserved. But Mainz fought well and put us under pressure at times after the break, and we were too careless in attack,” said Heynckes, who again before the game ruled out extending his contract beyond the end of the season.
Zlatko Junuzovic scored in the third minute of injury time to stun Schalke and boost Bremen’s chances of avoiding the drop.
A mistake from Bremen ’keeper Jiri Pavlenka gifted Schalke a 24th-minute lead when he failed to hold onto Yevhen Konoplyanka’s centrally placed shot. Pavlenka let the ball slip through his fingers.
However, Schalke ’keeper Ralf Faehrmann reciprocated by letting Ludwig Augustinsson’s harmless free kick rebound forward for the lurking Max Kruse to equalize with 10 minutes remaining.
Schalke’s Matija Nastasic had just been sent off for his second yellow card.
Then Junuzovic’s late strike dropped Schalke to fifth and lifted Bremen out of the relegation zone on goal difference from Mainz.
Ademola Lookman scored on his debut for Leipzig to snatch a late 1-0 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach.
Lookman, who joined Leipzig on loan from Everton on Wednesday, came on with just over 10 minutes remaining and the 20-year-old English midfielder scored with a low shot inside the far corner in the 89th after Naby Keita played him through.
Lars Stindl almost equalized in a heated finale but Leipzig held on to go third, behind Leverkusen on goal difference.
GOMEZ SCORES ON RETURN
Mario Gomez scored on his return to Wolfsburg to earn Stuttgart a 1-1 draw in Tayfun Korkut’s debut as coach.
Wolfsburg’s Divock Origi got Korkut off to a bad start when he let fly with a curling shot inside the far post, but Gomez equalized in the second half.
“I’d exchange the goal for three points,” the Germany forward said.
Korkut was appointed on Monday after Stuttgart parted company with Hannes Wolf following six defeats in seven league games. Wolf led the side to promotion last season and Korkut received a cool reception from the Stuttgart fans.
Hertha Berlin came from behind to draw with visiting Hoffenheim 1-1.