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Thu Apr 24 05:48:21 SAST 2014

Bayern edge past Mainz as Dortmund beat Leverkusen

Karolos Grohmann, Reuters | 16 September, 2012 10:500 Comments
*** BESTPIX *** FC Bayern Muenchen v 1. FSV Mainz 05 - Bundesliga
Mario Mandzukic (R) of Bayern Munich challenges Zdenek Pospech of Mainz during the Bundesliga match at Allianz Arena on September 15, 2012 in Munich, Germany
Image by: Alexander Hassenstein / Bongarts/Getty Images

Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich protected their two-point lead with a nervous 3-1 victory over Mainz 05 on Saturday as champions Borussia Dortmund kept up the chase with a commanding 3-0 win against Bayer Leverkusen.

Goals from Mario Mandzukic and Bastian Schweinsteiger after 13 minutes looked to have put hosts Bayern in an unassailable position but an Adam Szalai penalty on the hour set the stage for a tricky finale

Bayern, who take on Valencia in the Champions League on Wednesday, were without wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, out of the squad with minor injuries.

Coach Jupp Heynckes initially left 40 million euro ($52,6 million) signing Javi Martinez again on the bench at the start.

Bayern striker Claudio Pizarro came on late in the game to equal the record for most Bundesliga matches by a foreign player at 336 but it was Toni Kroos who made sure of the three points when he struck in stoppage time from a fine Martinez pass.

Dortmund had no such case of nerves and a well-timed Mats Hummels header put the champions on track to maintain their 12-month unbeaten run at home. They also extended their league run to 31 games without defeat, closing in on the all-time record of 36 matches set by Hamburg SV.

Jakub Blaszczykowski fired in another goal from the far post six minutes before the break against a toothless Leverkusen side before fellow Pole Robert Lewandowski headed in another in the 78th to lift second-placed Dortmund to seven points from three games, two behind leaders Bayern.

In an exciting derby Hanover 96 confirmed they were the top team in the north with a last-gasp 3-2 win over Werder Bremen to move into second place and seven points but with a better goal difference than Dortmund.

Szabolocs Huszti scored twice for Hanover including a superb stoppage-time bicycle kick to hand his team their second win in three games but the Hungarian was then promptly sent off with a second booking during celebrations.

Borussia Moenchengladbach lost 3-2 to Nuremberg after a bad start to the game saw them having to crawl back from two goals down. Luuk de Jong got one back and Granit Xhaka equalised in the 53rd minute, only for the outstanding Hiroshi Kiyotake to swiftly put Nuremberg ahead again.

VfB Stuttgart managed secured their first point and pulled themselves off the bottom with a goalless draw against Fortuna Duesseldorf.

Schalke 04 travel to promoted Greuther Fuerth later on Saturday while Hamburg take on Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.

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Bayern edge past Mainz as Dortmund beat Leverkusen

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