Bayern leads Bundesliga by 6 points as Heynckes wins again
BERLIN (AP) — Robert Lewandowski scored twice to help Bayern Munich stretch its lead in the Bundesliga to six points after beating Bavarian rival Augsburg 3-0 on Saturday.
It was the 500th league win for Jupp Heynckes as a player or coach, and extended his winning start to eight games across all competitions since he returned as coach for his fourth stint.
“That’s a surprise for me. I don’t bother with statistics and numbers,” Heynckes said on being told about his winning landmark. “But it’s an impressive number (500). I had a long career as a player, and now as a coach. It wasn’t planned.”
Heynckes was coaxed out of retirement to take over from the fired Carlo Ancelotti on Oct. 5. Bayern was trailing then-leader Borussia Dortmund by five points. Now the side is nine points ahead of Dortmund, which hasn’t won in the league since Sept. 30, and six ahead of Leipzig, held at 10-man Bayer Leverkusen to 2-2.
Bayern midfielder Arturo Vidal broke the deadlock after half an hour, swiveling to fire home the rebound from a difficult angle after Mats Hummels’ effort was blocked and the ball ricocheted off Niklas Suele.
Vidal turned provider seven minutes later, playing Lewandowski through on a counterattack to shoot past Marwin Hitz.
The Poland striker claimed his league-leading 13th goal of the season early in the second half with a perfectly struck volley to Joshua Kimmich’s long cross from the right.
Vidal headed against the crossbar just afterward before Bayern conserved energy for Wednesday’s Champions League game at Anderlecht.
The win stretched the side’s unbeaten record at home to 28 games.
MORE VIDEO CONTROVERSY
Winless Cologne’s terrible start to the league continued with its 10th defeat in 12 games, while the discussion over video assistance will continue after two mistakes by referee Felix Brych.
Daniel Brosinski’s penalty before the break was enough for a 1-0 win for Mainz against Cologne, but how it came about will ensure the controversy over video assistance goes on.
Brych pointed to the spot when Pablo De Blasis fell under Frederik Sorensen’s challenge. He then consulted the video assistant, who had the benefit of studying replays in Cologne, and stood by the decision — despite television showing that Sorensen made hardly any contact with the Mainz player.
Brych later sent off Mainz’s Giulio Donati for what he perceived as striking Leon Bittencourt in a tussle. However, Bittencourt’s foot struck Donati in the face beforehand. Donati, who was lying on the pitch clutching his face, brushed the Cologne player away when he went to lift him up.
Following controversial decisions in previous games, the German soccer federation said video assistants were only to step in when there was “a clear wrong decision.”
Brazilian midfielder Raffael scored twice against his former side to earn Borussia Moenchengladbach a 4-2 win at Hertha Berlin and go third.
Lars Stindl, Thorgan Hazard and then Raffael - with a brilliant strike - put the visitors three goals up after just 20 minutes.
Hertha captain Vedad Ibisevic pulled one back shortly afterward and the home side hit the crossbar and then the post before Mitchell Weiser was finally rewarded with another goal with 20 minutes remaining.
But Raffael killed off an unlikely comeback as Hertha pushed forward for the equalizer.
EIGHTH TIME LUCKY
Wolfsburg defeated Freiburg 3-1 at home to give coach Martin Schmidt his first win after he started with seven draws.
On loan from Bayern, Serge Gnabry did brilliantly to set up Mark Uth for Hoffenheim’s injury-time equalizer in a 1-1 draw with visiting Eintracht Frankfurt.