Bayern closes in on Bundesliga, Union Berlin on Champions League
BERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich romped to a big win over Schalke, and Borussia Dortmund replied with a rout of Borussia Mönchengladbach.
The Bundesliga title race remained too close to call after both contenders displayed their credentials on Saturday.
Bayern captain Thomas Müller scored on a rare start as the defending champion maintained its one-point lead with two rounds remaining by thrashing Schalke 6-0.
Sébastien Haller then scored twice in Dortmund’s 5-2 win over Gladbach.
But to end Bayern’s 10-year reign as champion, Dortmund must hope Bayern drops points over the next two weekends.
Bayern plays Leipzig and Cologne, while Dortmund plays Augsburg and Mainz in its last games.
Bayern missed a couple of good chances before Müller finally made the breakthrough in the 21st minute. Müller, who is captain while Manuel Neuer works on his comeback from a broken leg, was making his first start since April 22.
"I was happy to get the ‘can-opener’ today. It was a brilliant feeling. The stadium exploded – and then we kept going,” Müller said.
Joshua Kimmich made it 2-0 10 minutes later with a penalty awarded through VAR after Cedric Brunner caught Jamal Musiala in the face with his arm. The Schalke defender was booked and Musiala showed no lasting damage.
Serge Gnabry added two more goals in the second half, Mathys Tel added another, and Noussair Mazraoui completed the scoring in injury time.
It continued a long tradition of Bayern routing Schalke. Schalke hasn’t beaten the Bavarian powerhouse in 23 league games since a victory in December 2010, with Bayern clocking up 71 goals in that run.
DORTMUND KEEPS PACE
Dortmund, which enjoyed a 6-0 win over Wolfsburg last week, raced into a four-goal lead over Gladbach.
Donyell Malen opened the scoring in the fifth minute by finishing off Haller’s deflected effort, Jude Bellingham added a penalty in the 18th after Haller was fouled, and Haller grabbed the third goal two minutes later with a wonderful strike after good work from Malen and Julian Brandt.
Brandt and Malen again combined to set up Haller’s second goal in the 32nd
Gladbach ’keeper Jan Olschowsky did well to deny Malen and Bellingham either side of the break. Olschowsky was standing in for the injured Jonas Omlin.
Ramy Bensebaini pulled one back with a penalty in the 75th and Lars Stindl grabbed Gladbach’s second in the 86th, but Gio Reyna had the final say for Dortmund in the last minute.
Union Berlin made a big step toward Champions League qualification after winning at home over chief rival Freiburg 4-2. Union's win lifted it three points clear of fifth-placed Freiburg. The top four qualify for Europe's premier competition.
Union's Sheraldo Becker celebrated his fifth-minute goal by donning a Spiderman mask, for which he was booked, and he responded a minute later with another goal, again set up by Robin Knoche.
Freiburg rallied to within one with 20 minutes to go, but the outstanding Becker wasn’t finished. He sprinted clear after Jordan Pefok won the ball in midfield and set up Aïssa Laïdouni to seal the win on a counterattack in the 80th. It was Laïdouni’s first goal for Union since his winter switch from Ferencvaros. Few can be as important.
Bochum climbed out of the relegation zone with a 3-2 win over Augsburg. Bochum moved a point above Schalke with two games remaining.
Also, Eintracht Frankfurt defeated Mainz 3-0 and Wolfsburg enjoyed a 2-1 win over Hoffenheim, which is just a point above Bochum.
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