Robert Lewandowski hit his 20th league goal this season as Bayern Munich climbed to second in the Bundesliga Sunday with a 4-0 romp at Hertha Berlin to trim RB Leipzig’s lead to four points.
Having seen RB Leipzig go five points clear with a 3-1 win over Union Berlin on Saturday, Bayern climbed a place in the Bundesliga with second-half goals in the capital by Thomas Mueller, Lewandowski, Thiago Alcantara and Ivan Perisic.
After Leipzig’s Germany striker Timo Werner had edged ahead of him as the league’s top scorer with two goals against Union, Lewandowski drew level with his main rival’s tally on 20 league goals by converting a penalty.
Lewandowski and Werner are now the first players in Bundesliga history to have scored 20 goals after 18 games in their challenge to Gerd Mueller’s record of 40 goals in a Bundesliga season, set in 1971/72.
After a groin injury last month, Lewandowski proved his fitness with an lively display at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.
He now has 31 goals in 26 games in all competitions, including 10 in just five Champions League games.
There was good news before kick-off for Hertha coach Jurgen Klinsmann as the German Football Association (DFB) confirmed his coaching licence is valid after doubts emerged last week over whether the certificate earned in 2000 had expired.
There was little else to cheer Hertha fans as Bayern established supremacy with nearly 70 percent possession as the defending champions struggling however to break Hertha’s defence.
The breach finally came on 60 minutes when Leon Goretzka put a cross to the far post, Perisic headed back and Mueller crashed home the shot.
Lewandowski had a header disallowed soon after when the video assistant referee spotted the striker made contact with Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein, who had claimed the cross a millisecond before.
However, when Bayern were awarded a penalty after Goretzka was upended, Lewandowski sent Jarstein the wrong way to put Bayern 2-0 up with 73 minutes gone.
Alcantara added a third with superb finishing after the Hertha defence had again been shredded and Perisic was finally rewarded for a good display when he headed home with six minutes left with an assist from Mueller.
The victory in Berlin sets Bayern up for Saturday’s crunch home clash against fifth-placed Schalke, who beat fellow title contenders Moenchengladbach 2-0 in Gelsenkirchen on Friday.
Bayern Munich dropped to sixth after Ramy Bensebaini’s injury-time penalty fired Bundesliga leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach to a 2-1 win over the reigning champions on Saturday.
A second straight league loss puts pressure on Hansi Flick, who has been put in charge until January and was tipped to see out the season as interim boss after winning his first five games.
Bayern, now seven points adrift in the title race, went ahead at Borussia Park when Ivan Perisic fired home just after the break, but defender Bensebaini headed Gladbach level with an hour gone.
The Algerian then struck his decisive stoppage-time penalty after Bayern’s Javi Martinez was sent off for a second yellow card.
There were wild scenes of celebrations from home fans at the final whistle of a game Bayern dominated for long stretches.
But like last week’s 2-1 home loss to Bayer Leverkusen, they only had themselves to blame as they squandered a string of chances.
Bayern had six clear first-half chances, two of which saw striker Robert Lewandowski fire wide.
They were denied the lead by goal-line technology on 29 minutes when Joshua Kimmich’s shot slid under Yann Sommer’s block, but the Gladbach goalkeeper scrambled and just managed to stop the ball fully crossing the line.
Bayern finally broke through when Perisic, a first-half replacement for injured Coretin Tolisso, hammered his shot on the turn to beat Sommer four minutes after half-time.
Surviving on less than 40 percent possession, Gladbach drew level on the hour mark against the run of play as they scored off their first clear chance.
Midfielder Jonas Hofmann whipped in a corner and Bensebaini powered his header past Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Gladbach gained in confidence, but the game turned in the 90th minute when Bayern defender Javi Martinez gave a penalty away and was sent off for a clumsy tackle on Marcus Thuram in the area.
The Spain international trudged off after being shown second a yellow card as Bensebaini showed nerves of steel to convert the penalty.
– Dortmund run riot –
Elsewhere, RB Leipzig stay second after their 3-1 home win against Hoffeneheim as Timo Werner grabbed the opener, then netted a second-half penalty to leave the Germany striker with 15 league goals this season.
Midfielder Marcel Sabitzer scored Leipzig’s late third goal before defender Erim Bicakcic pulled back a consolation goal for Hoffenheim just before the whistle.
Borussia Dortmund eased the pressure on coach Lucien Favre to go third with a 5-0 home romp against Fortuna Duesseldorf, who drop into the bottom three, as England winger Jadon Sancho and club captain Marco Reus both scored twice.
Having ground out a 2-1 win with 10 men at Jurgen Klinsmann’s relegation-threatened Hertha Berlin last weekend, Dortmund ran riot after the break at home with four second-half goals.
Reus put the hosts ahead at Signal Iduna Park, then combined with Sancho and Thorgan Hazard after the break to shred Duesseldorf’s defence.
Sancho had a goal ruled out for offside on 52 minutes, but set up Hazard four minutes later, before scoring Dortmund’s third goal with an hour gone after combining with Reus.
Reus, then Sancho both claimed their second goals inside a devastating four-minute spell just before the whistle.
Freiburg moved up to fifth, a point above Bayern, with a 1-0 win at home to Wolfsburg thanks to a second-half winner from Jonathan Schmid while mid-table Augsburg enjoyed a 2-1 win at home to Mainz.
Managerless Bayern Munich went second in the Bundesliga on Saturday with a 4-0 romp at Fortuna Duesseldorf as leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach suffered a shock 2-0 defeat at Union Berlin.
Bayern’s interim coach Hansi Flick enjoyed his third straight win since Niko Kovac was sacked earlier this month as Munich moved to within a point of Gladbach.
A top-of-the-table showdown beckons in a fortnight when Gladbach host Bayern at Borussia Park.
RB Leipzig can draw level on 24 points with Bayern if they win at home to strugglers Cologne later on Saturday evening.
Bayern routed Dusseldorf with goals by Philippe Coutinho, Serge Gnabry, Benjamin Pavard and Coretin Tolisso, with Robert Lewandowski failing to score in a league game for the first time this season and ending his record 11-match run.
However, it was the Poland forward who forced a corner from which Pavard scored the opening goal after 11 minutes.
His France team-mate Tolisso then doubled the lead in the 27th minute after Duesseldorf’s US international Zack Steffen surrendered possession.
Serge Gnabry, who scored a hat-trick in Germany’s 6-1 thrashing of Northern Ireland in mid-week, continued his goal-scoring run when he was presented with a simple tap-in by Thomas Mueller seven minutes later.
Lewandowski turned provider again with the 70th-minute cross which Coutinho swept into the net to complete the rout.
In Berlin, Gladbach suffered their third defeat this season as they became the latest top six club to lose to Union.
Having already beaten Dortmund and Freiburg this season at their Alten Foersterei stadium, Union took the lead with 15 minutes gone when Nigeria striker Anthony Ujah headed home a cross.
Union ensured their fourth straight league win in stoppage time when winger Julian Ryerson floated in a cross, which deflected off a Gladbach defender to present Swedish striker Sebastian Andersson with an easy header to round off a fine win.
Schalke climbed to fourth as striker Benito Raman and midfielder Amine Harit scored their goals in a 2-1 win at Werder Bremen, whose Japanese striker Yuya Osako grabbed a late consolation.
Freiburg are third despite only drawing 1-1 at ninth-placed Leverkusen.
The visitors took the lead after only five minutes when forward Lucas Hoeler headed home at the far post after slipping his marker.
But France Under-21 striker Moussa Diaby levelled on his first start for Leverkusen since joining from Paris Saint-Germain when he slotted home from 20 metres out midway through the first half.
Despite playing with 10 men for the entire second-half, mid-table Wolfsburg managed a 2-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Their goals came from towering Dutch striker Wout Weghorst and Brazilian forward Joao Victor despite losing defender Marcel Tisserand at the end of the first half for a second bookable offence.
Bayern Munich crashed to their heaviest Bundesliga defeat for a decade after Jerome Boateng saw an early red card in their 5-1 thrashing at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
Defending champions Bayern are now fourth in the table, four points behind leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach, leaving head coach Niko Kovac under huge pressure after their heaviest league defeat since April 2009 when they crashed 5-1 at Wolfsburg, who won the 2008/09 league title.
Niko Kovac admitted his future as Bayern Munich coach hung in the balance Saturday after their 5-1 thrashing at Eintracht Frankfurt — the club’s heaviest Bundesliga defeat for 10 years.
Bayern are now four points behind leaders Moenchengladbach after their biggest league loss since a humiliating 5-1 drubbing in April 2009 at Wolfsburg.
That defeat a decade ago eventually cost Jurgen Klinsmann his job as Bayern boss and Kovac could face a similar fate as Frankfurt shredded 10-man Bayern after defender Jerome Boateng was sent off after nine minutes.
Kovac has been in charge since June 2018, winning the league and cup double last season, but could only offer a glum “I don’t know” when asked about his future.
“After the red card, everything went out the window,” a bitterly disappointed Kovac told Sky.
“Nevertheless, that shouldn’t have happened to us and it’s not what we expect from ourselves.
“We made too many mistakes.”
Bayern had Boateng sent off for a straight red card for a foul as the last man, before goals by Filip Kostic, Djibril Sow, David Abraham and Martin Hinteregger put Frankfurt 4-1 up with an hour played.
Robert Lewandowski scored for Bayern in the first half, extending his league record of scoring in the first 10 games this season.
However, such was Frankfurt’s dominance that head coach Adi Huetter brought on a third striker in Andre Silva for defensive midfielder Gelson Fernandes with 10 minutes left.
The bold move paid off as Goncalo Paciencia added their fifth goal five minutes from time.
“It’s not a huge wonder (that this happened),” fumed Bayern captain Manuel Neuer. “Things had already got off to a (bad) start.”
“That (the red card) didn’t make it any easier, of course, but still you can’t concede five. We’re not consistent in our defence.”
Robert Lewandowski made yet more history on Saturday by netting in Bayern Munich’s home game against Union Berlin, setting a new record after scoring in each of the first nine Bundesliga matches this season.
The Poland striker showed clinical finishing by tucking away an Alphonso Davies second-half pass at the Allianz Arena to claim his 13th goal in his first nine league games this season.
He has now scored in each of his last 13 games for Bayern and means Lewandowski broke the previous league record, set by current Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who scored in each of the first eight games of the 2015/16 season for Borussia Dortmund.
Having also scored twice in Bayern’s 3-2 midweek win at Olympiakos in the Champions League, the 31-year-old Lewandowski now has 19 goals in just 14 appearances in all competitions during what is turning into the best season of his career.
Lewandowski is already the top-scoring foreigner in Bundesliga history with 215 league goals for Bayern and former club Dortmund.
He also holds a record from his incredible haul of five goals in just nine second-half minutes when he came off the bench in Bayern’s 5-1 thrashing of Wolfsburg in September 2015.
Bayern Munich and Germany defender Niklas Süle will be out for several months after tearing a knee ligament, the club said on Sunday.
Suele suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage in his left knee during Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Augsburg. The 24-year-old limped off the field and later left the stadium on crutches.
He will undergo surgery later on Sunday, Bayern said in a statement.
Germany coach Joachim Loew described the injury as “a real blow” that “certainly affects the ongoing development of our young team.”
“Niklas is one of the faces of this new generation and was no doubt a central figure in our planning,” Loew told the website of the German Football Federation.
“I’m confident that he will work his way back into the team, but we won’t be putting any pressure on him whatsoever and will support him as best we can.”
Suele’s pace, strength and ability to time tackles to perfection has led to him replacing the likes of Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels as first-choice centre-back for both club and country in recent months.
But the player dubbed “Germany’s Virgil Van Dijk” has himself said he still lacks the assertiveness needed on the pitch to be considered a real defensive leader.
Suele tore a cruciate ligament in the same knee when he was 19 and playing for Hoffenheim.
David Wagner urged his Schalke side to put the past behind them after they beat Paderborn 5-1 on Sunday, while Freiburg moved up to third in the Bundesliga with a derby win at Hoffenheim.
Schalke, who narrowly avoided relegation last season, tore through Paderborn in a frenzy of goals at the end of the second half to pick up their second win of the season and move up to sixth in the table.
“It’s a new season, and I can only ask the boys to look forward,” said Wagner.
Goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel said that new coach Wagner had “cleared the heads” of the Schalke players.
“We are playing much more freely now,” he told Sky.
Brazilian midfielder Cauly gave Paderborn an early lead, picking out the top corner with a looping header to celebrate his 24th birthday with a goal.
Schalke were then denied several times by Paderborn keeper Jannik Huth before Salif Sane headed them level on 33 minutes.
Suat Serdar completed the turnaround just after the break, firing in a loose ball at the edge of the area to put Schalke ahead.
English full-back Jonjoe Kenny set up the third with a marauding run from deep, eventually cutting the ball back for Harit to slot it into the bottom corner.
Ahmed Kutucu added a fourth on the counter-attack seven minutes from time, before setting up Harit minutes later to complete the rout.
Freiburg overtake Bayern
Earlier on Sunday, Freiburg midfielder Janik Haberer hailed a “great day” for the Bundesliga minnows as they beat neighbours Hoffenheim 3-0 to continue their dream start to the season.
“It is a great day for us and our fans, it is always special to win a derby,” said Haberer, who joined Nils Petersen and Christian Guenter on the scoresheet.
The win leaves Freiburg in third and sees them leapfrog perennial champions Bayern Munich, who were held to a 1-1 draw at league leaders RB Leipzig on Saturday.
Freiburg were ruthless in the first half and deserved their two-goal lead at the break.
Guenter swept in the opener after a darting run in from the left wing on 11 minutes, and Petersen had a goal ruled out for offside shortly before the half-hour mark.
Haberer doubled the lead on 38 minutes, picking out the bottom corner brilliantly from the edge of the area.
Hoffenheim, who had shown only flashes of danger in the first half, were caught napping when an unmarked Petersen poached the third goal on the hour.
Christian Streich’s side have now won three of their opening four games, with only Bayern and Borussia Dortmund having scored more goals so far.
“Our primary goal is still just to avoid relegation, but it is a great feeling to be so high up the table,” Haberer told Sky.