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Bayern blitz Wolfsburg for new record Schalke drub Hoffenheim

BERLIN, March 8, (AP): Bayern Munich blitzed Wolfsburg with five goals in 17 minutes to come from a goal down and win 6-1 for a new Bundesliga record of 16 consecutive victories on Saturday. Bayern, which provisionally extended their lead in the table to 23 points, also stretched their Bundesliga record unbeaten run to 49 games and remain on course to complete the season without defeat. Second-placed Borussia Dortmund, which play at Freiburg on Sunday, visits Munich on April 12 in what is likely to be the defending champions’ toughest remaining challenge. Also Saturday, Klaas Jan Huntelaar scored a hat trick as Schalke beat Hoffenheim 4-0 and Borussia Moenchengladbach lost 2-1 at home to Augsburg. Stuttgart ended its eight-game losing streak but could only draw 2-2 at home with bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig, injury-hit Hamburger SV drew 1-1 at home with fellow relegation candidate Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen remains without a win in six games across all competitions after drawing 1-1 at Hannover.

Wolfsburg started brightly, pressuring Bayern and disrupting the visitors’ passing game. Pep Guardiola’s side only managed to turn the game around after Thiago Alcantara and former Wolfsburg striker Mario Mandzukic came on early in the second half, as Bayern claimed their 22nd win from 24 games. “For 50, 60 minutes we displayed outstanding football. We had Bayern swaying,” Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking said. “But after the third goal it was like someone pulled the plug. Then the enthusiasm and willingness to run was gone.” Brazilian defender Naldo beat David Alaba to Kevin de Bruyne’s cross to give Wolfsburg a deserved lead in the 17th minute. Xherdan Shaqiri equalized in a goalmouth scramble after a corner in the 26th. Patrick Ochs twice cleared off the line from Alaba and Shaqiri bundled the rebound over the line.

The home side remained strong, however, prompting the introduction of Mandzukic and Thiago. The latter had an immediate effect, playing a superb pass for Mueller to run through and score in the 63rd. Mandzukic shot to the corner three minutes later, Arjen Robben set up Franck Ribery in the 71st, Mueller claimed his second in the 78th and then set up Mandzukic for the Croat’s league-leading 16th goal of the season two minutes later. “We weren’t as dominant as we were in previous games,” Guardiola said. “But in the end we shot the goals.” Guardiola opted to rest Mario Goetze with a view to Tuesday’s visit of Arsenal in the Champions League. Ribery was playing his first game for Bayern since a minor operation on his buttock, while Mueller was back after a hamstring injury. Schalke bounced back from crushing defeats to Bayern and Real Madrid by drawing level on points with third-placed Leverkusen.

“We wanted to show a reaction,” Schalke coach Jens Keller said. Huntelaar opened the scoring in the sixth, and scored again with a fine finish inside the far post in the 29th, set up by Julian Draxler. The Dutchman should have completed his hat trick from the penalty spot in the 31st, but shot weakly and Koen Casteels easily gathered. Kevin-Prince Boateng cut the ball back for Chinedu Obasi to make it 3-0 in the 55th, and Draxler did brilliantly to help Huntelaar complete his hat trick in the 79th. “We could have even won by more,” Huntelaar said. Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno saved his side by denying Szabolcs Huszti’s penalty attempt in the fifth.

“I trusted my instincts,” Leno said after his fifth save from six penalties this season. Gonzalo Castro scored for Leverkusen with a deflected shot in the 28th, but then lost the ball to Artjoms Rudnevs in the 33rd, when the Latvian striker equalized for Hannover with a 25-meter strike to the top left corner. “It certainly wasn’t an exhilarating game from us,” Leno said. “You could feel the lack of confidence.”
Stuttgart coach Thomas Schneider will have to wait to learn his fate after failing to claim a win against Braunschweig. “I’m not anybody to run away,” said Schneider, whose side had previously lost eight in a row. It could have been nine. Jan Hochscheidt put the visitors ahead with a fine effort in the 24th.

Alexandru Maxim equalized in the 30th and Martin Harnik scored again for Stuttgart five minutes later. Vedad Ibisevic had the chance to make it 3-1 but Daniel Davari saved his penalty. Ermin Bicakcic equalized in the 82nd against his former side to keep Braunschweig’s hopes of avoiding the drop alive. Hamburg remains in the relegation place, level on points with Stuttgart, thanks to Hakan Calhanoglu’s equalizer from a penalty in the 72nd. Alexander Madlung’s brilliant 29th-minute volley had given Frankfurt the lead.

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