Robben scores in comeback as Bayern win again
Bayern Munich eased past Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 on Saturday for a sixth straight league win that kept them two points clear at the top of the Bundesliga.
First-half goals from Thomas Mueller and Daniel van Buyten and a stoppage-time goal from Dutchman Arjen Robben, in his first appearance since late August, saw them move up to 18 points from seven matches.
With millions of people in town for the annual Oktoberfest beer festival, Bayern had their own reasons to celebrate on Saturday, having kept a clean sheet for nine consecutive games in all competitions.
“We were dominant throughout and scored at the right times,” said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes.
“I never had the feeling that we could lose today. Leverkusen never really believed in themselves,” he said as Bayern prepare to host Manchester City in the Champions League next week.
Early season form side Borussia Moenchengladbach kept up with Bayern’s pace, moving into second place with a 1-0 win over Nuremberg courtesy of a Filip Daems penalty while Borussia Dortmund snatched a last-gasp 2-1 win at Mainz 05.
Expert penalty-taker Daems converted from the spot for his third goal of the season in the 76th minute to lift Gladbach, who had to come through a relegation playoff last season to stay up, to 16 points.
Werder Bremen, third on 13 points, host Hertha Berlin on Sunday.
Last season’s champions Dortmund needed a 90th minute goal from Lukasz Piszczek to beat battling Mainz and snap their two-game losing streak to move up to eighth.
Piszczek, whose poor back pass was to blame for Mainz’s 33rd minute lead through Nicolai Mueller, made amends when he rifled in from outside the box seconds before the final whistle.
Dortmund, who had playmaker Mario Goetze returning from suspension and welcomed back striker Lucas Barrios from injury for the first time this season, had levelled in the 64th minute with Ivan Perisic’s first Bundesliga goal, a clever low drive.
Schalke 04 overcame Freiburg 4-2 to fulfil their promise of putting in a stellar performance for coach Ralf Rangnick who surprisingly stepped down on Thursday citing exhaustion.
VfL Wolfsburg beat Kaiserslautern 1-0 despite having 10 men for the entire second half following the dismissal of defender Sotiris Kyrgiakos with Ashkan Dejagah’s diving header just past the hour mark securing the points for Felix Magath’s team.
Bayern only needed five minutes to take the lead with Mueller sliding in to connect with a Franck Ribery cross that was fizzed in from the left.
Defender Van Buyten added another after 19 minutes by thundering in a free-kick from 18 metres as a string of Leverkusen absentees, including their former Germany captain Michael Ballack, left the visitors exposed.
The detention of Bayern’s 21-year-old Brazilian defender Breno on suspicion of arson seemed to have little impact on the Munich side, who kept pushing for a third goal, and Van Buyten came close late again in the second half with a glancing header.
Robben then came on as a 78th minute substitute for his first appearance since the end of August following a groin injury and curled home Bayern’s third goal in stoppage time.