Lewandowski Passes 50-Goal Mark As Bayern Win 20th German Cup To Complete Double

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich v SC Paderborn in Munich, southern Germany, on February 21, 2020.
Guenter SCHIFFMANN / AFP

 

 

Robert Lewandowski passed the 50-goal mark this season as Bayern Munich completed the double with a 4-2 victory over Bayer Leverkusen behind closed doors to win a 20th German Cup on Saturday.

Bundesliga champions Bayern dominated at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium as David Alaba smashed home an early free-kick before Serge Gnabry added the second goal in the first-half.

Lewandowski has 51 goals in total this season after scoring twice in the second-half either side of a Sven Bender header for Leverkusen.

Kai Havertz converted a penalty deep into added time for Leverkusen.

“In the second half we showed that we are the better team and wanted to be cup winners,” said man-of-the-match Lewandowski.

Bayern, crowned Bundesliga champions for the eighth straight year last Saturday, have won all of their 11 games since the season resumed in mid-May after a two-months hiatus due to the coronavirus.

They could finish the season winning the treble as they are among the favourites for the Champions League finals in Lisbon next month.

This was the 13th time in the club’s history they have won the double.

Lewandowski, crowned Bundesliga top-scorer for the fifth time last weekend, netted six times in the cup, has 34 league goals and 11 more in the Champions League this season.

Leverkusen completed a hat-trick of defeats after also losing the 2002 and 2009 cup finals in Berlin.

When Lewandowski was clattered by defender Edmond Tapsoba on 16 minutes, it was Alaba who swung the resulting free kick inside the post to give Bayern the opening goal.

They doubled their lead after Joshua Kimmich won the ball in midfield eight minutes later.

His pass split the defence, Gnabry sprinted onto the ball and fired past Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky to make it 2-0 at the break.

 

Bayern Munich's German forward Thomas Mueller raises the German Cup (DFB Pokal) trophy as he and his teammates celebrate winning the final football match Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern Munich at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on July 4, 2020. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein / POOL / AFP)
Bayern Munich’s German forward Thomas Mueller raises the German Cup (DFB Pokal) trophy as he and his teammates celebrate winning the final football match Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern Munich at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on July 4, 2020. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein / POOL / AFP)

Under control

“We are so happy that we got the double. In the first half we had the game completely under control,” said Gnabry.

With players’ calls echoing around the near-empty terraces of the cavernous stadium, where Germany head coach Joachim Loew was one of a handful of guests, the game was played in an eerie atmosphere.

“It’s a bit of a sad moment,” admitted Bayern forward Thomas Mueller, who lamented the lack of fans, after winning the German Cup for the sixth time in his career.

“If the fans are missing at such a cup final, it’s not the same.

“We’ve done well this season over long stretches, but it also hurts a bit.”

Having skied a shot at goal moments earlier, Lewandowski made it 3-0 when he controlled a clearance kick by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and tried a long-range speculative shot at Hradecky.

The Leverkusen keeper parried the shot, but watched in horror as it rolled behind him and over the goal line on 59 minutes.

“I noticed that the goalkeeper was a bit off his line, so I thought I’d just give it a try,” revealed Lewandowski.

“It was a little surprise it went in, but you always have to try.”

It fired life into Leverkusen, whose centre-back Sven Bender slipped his marker Leon Goretzka and headed home on 64 minutes.

Leverkusen nearly got a second moments later when Kevin Volland and Havertz both failed to connect with a cross.

Lewandowski claimed his second when he fired home Ivan Perisic’s pass on 89 minutes.

Bayern defender Alphonso Davies conceded the penalty in the fourth minute of added time which Havertz converted just before the whistle.

 

 

-AFP

Chelsea Sign Timo Werner From RB Leipzig – Club

Leipzig’s German forward Timo Werner (R) celebrates scoring his side’ second goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match RB Leipzig v Fortuna Dusseldorf on June 17, 2020 in Leipzig. (Photo by Ronny HARTMANN / various sources / AFP) / DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO

 

Chelsea announced the signing of German international forward Timo Werner from RB Leipzig on Thursday in the first major move of the summer transfer market.

“The 24-year-old has agreed personal terms with the Blues, and will remain at the German club for the rest of the Bundesliga season,” Chelsea said in a statement. “He will link up with his new team-mates in July, subject to passing a medical examination.”

-AFP

Bayern Clinch Eighth Straight Bundesliga Title

Bayern's players celebrate after the German first division Bundesliga football match SV Werder Bremen v FC Bayern Munich on June 16, 2020 in Bremen, northern Germany. Martin MEISSNER / POOL / AFP
Bayern’s players celebrate after the German first division Bundesliga football match SV Werder Bremen v FC Bayern Munich on June 16, 2020, in Bremen, northern Germany. Martin MEISSNER / POOL / AFP

 

Bayern Munich secured their eighth straight Bundesliga title on Tuesday as Robert Lewandowski’s first-half volley saw them claim a 1-0 win at Werder Bremen.

The Bavarian giants were confirmed German champions for the 30th time in the club’s proud history to maintain their iron-grip on the Bundesliga shield in recent years.

Lewandowski struck two minutes before the break with a brilliant chest and low strike, but Bayern had to endure a nervy final 11 minutes after teenage left-back Alphonso Davies was sent off for a second yellow card.

At the end of a first 45 minutes dominated by Bremen’s dogged defending and pouring rain, Bayern broke through when centre-back Jerome Boateng chipped over the top for Lewandowski to score.

It was the Poland striker’s 31st league goal of the season, a career best, keeping him on course to be named the league’s top scorer for the fifth time.

Head coach Hansi Flick landed the Bundesliga title in his first season in charge having stepped in when Niko Kovac was sacked last November.

Even the coronavirus lockdown could not stop Bayern’s momentum, with the champions winning eight consecutive games in all competitions since the resumption of German football last month.

Flick, an assistant coach when Germany won the 2014 World Cup, could land the treble as Bayern face Bayer Leverkusen in the German Cup final on July 4 and hold a 3-0 first-leg lead over Chelsea in the Champions League last 16.

The home defeat means Bremen, who are three points from guaranteed safety with two games left, badly need a result at fellow strugglers Mainz this Saturday or against Cologne at home on the final day of the season.

This was Bayern’s 13th straight win in Bremen, but Florian Kohfeldt’s hosts worked tirelessly.

Having given Bayern the lead, Lewandowski went chasing a second and had the ball in the net in the 54th minute but was flagged offside.

Canada left-back Davies showed a lightning pair of heels by clocking 36.51km/h, which will be a Bundesliga record if the speed is confirmed, before his late dismissal.

Having been shown a first-half yellow card for a foul on Leonardo Bittencourt, Davies was booked again for blocking the run of Milos Veljkovic.

Bremen piled on the pressure in the final 10 minutes, with Boateng doing excellently to prevent a late cross from reaching Josh Sargent.

Kohfeldt threw on strikers Niclas Fuellkrug and 41-year-old Claudio Pizarro, against his former club.

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer pulled off a stunning finger-tip save in the 90th minute to deny Japan forward Yuya Osako, with Pizarro sliding in searching for a tap-in, as Bayern held on.

The result means club stalwart Thomas Mueller now equals the league record of former Bayern great Franck Ribery with his ninth Bundesliga title.

Haaland’s Late Winner For Dortmund Delays Bayern Munich Title Party

Dortmund's Norwegian forward Erling Braut Haaland (2nd L, no 17) scores the 0-1 during the German first division Bundesliga football match Fortuna Duesseldorf v Borussia Dortmund on June 13, 2020 in Duesseldorf, western Germany. LEON KUEGELER / POOL / AFP
Dortmund’s Norwegian forward Erling Braut Haaland (2nd L, no 17) scores the 0-1 during the German first division Bundesliga football match Fortuna Duesseldorf v Borussia Dortmund on June 13, 2020 in Duesseldorf, western Germany. LEON KUEGELER / POOL / AFP

 

Erling Braut Haaland came off the bench to score a spectacular 95th-minute winner for Borussia Dortmund in their 1-0 victory at Fortuna Duesseldorf on Saturday that kept Bayern Munich waiting for an eighth straight Bundesliga title.

Dortmund were heading towards a frustrating draw at relegation-threatened Fortuna when Haaland headed home Manuel Akanji’s cross seconds from time to score his 11th goal in 12 league games.

The result leaves second-placed Dortmund four points behind leaders Bayern, who host fourth-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach later Saturday.

Haaland, 19, came on with half an hour left and was involved in the build-up when Raphael Guerreiro had a 65th-minute goal disallowed after the VAR spotted the Portuguese international had played the ball with his upper arm.

However, with time almost up, Haaland leapt to flick his header into the Fortuna net for his 14th goal for Dortmund in 15 games since joining from Red Bull Salzburg in January.

Dortmund had endured a nervous final 10 minutes before Haaland struck as Duesseldorf substitute  Steven Skrzybski twice hit the post and fired wide.

Duesseldorf’s defeat boosted second-from-bottom Werder Bremen, who are now level with Fortuna on 28 points following their 5-1 thumping of bottom side Paderborn.

With Bundesliga matches played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, home advantage again counted for little with four victories going to the away team in the afternoon’s five games.

Lifeline for Bremen

Bremen responded to back-to-back home defeats with an emphatic away victory in pouring rain as Davy Klaassen netted either side of a goal by Japanese forward Yuya Osako to make it 3-0 at half-time.

It could have been 4-0 as Bremen forward Milot Rashica had a penalty saved.

Midfielder Maximilian Eggestein made it 4-0 with an hour gone before Paderborn’s Moroccan-born substitute Abdelhamid Sabiri scored their consolation goal.

Just 15 minutes after coming on for his first appearance for nine months after tearing knee ligaments, Bremen striker Niclas Fuellkrug capped a fairytale return when he slotted home the fifth goal on 90 minutes.

With three games left to stay up, Bremen host Bayern on Tuesday, then Mainz, who are also fighting to survive, and mid-table Cologne.

Ten-man Hertha Berlin were thumped 4-1 at home by Eintracht Frankfurt after their Belgium defender Dedryck Boyata was sent off on the stroke of half-time for bringing down Bas Dost, who was through on goal.

Krzysztof Piatek gave Hertha an early lead at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, but Frankfurt roared back with unanswered goals by Dost, two from Portuguese forward Andre Silva and French defender Evan Ndicka.

Freiburg came from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw at Wolfsburg in a game dominated by VAR.

Wolfsburg raced into a 2-0 lead inside 30 minutes when Dutch striker Wout Weghorst finished off a sweeping move, then converted a penalty.

Weghorst also had his head heavily bandaged after an accidental kick in the face.

Wolfsburg had two goals by Daniel Ginczek ruled out by the VAR and it finished 2-1 at half-time as Freiburg pulled a goal back through midfielder Lucas Hoefler.

Hungarian Roland Sallai equalised just after the break.

After picking up just two points in their previous five games since the Bundesliga restart in mid-May, FC Union got their fist win since February with a 2-1 win at Cologne.

Goals by defender Marvin Friedrich and midfielder Christian Gentner sealed the victory which pulled Union up to 13th, seven points from the bottom three.

Premier League Approves Kneeling Protests, ‘Black Lives Matter’ On Shirts

AC Milan’s Danish defender Simon Kjaer, wearing a jersey that reads “Black Lives Matter” warms up prior to the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) semi-final second leg football match Juventus vs AC Milan on June 12, 2020 at the Allianz stadium in Turin. Miguel MEDINA / AFP

 

The Premier League will support players taking a knee before or during matches in protest against racial discrimination, while “Black Lives Matter” will replace player names on the back of shirts for the first 12 games of the league’s restart next week.

“The League supports the players’ wish to have their names replaced by Black Lives Matter on the back of their shirts for the first 12 matches of the restarted 2019/20 season,” the Premier League said in a statement on Friday.

“In addition, the League will support players who ‘take a knee’ before or during matches.”

Protests have erupted across the globe since the killing of African-American George Floyd in the United States on May 25 when a police officer, who has been charged with second-degree murder, knelt on his neck for several minutes.

A statement by players from all 20 Premier League clubs said: “We, the players, stand together with the singular objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists, to bring about a global society of inclusion, respect, and equal opportunities for all, regardless of their colour or creed.

“This symbol is a sign of unity from all Players, all staff, all clubs, all match officials and the Premier League #blacklivesmatter #playerstogether.”

Several matches in Germany’s Bundesliga have been preceded by both teams taking a knee prior to kick-off in recent weeks.

England international Jadon Sancho was among the first players to protest by showing a t-shirt branded “Justice for George Floyd” during Borussia Dortmund’s rout of Paderborn last month.

The Premier League will return with two matches on June 17 as Manchester City host Arsenal and Sheffield United travel to Aston Villa.

A full round of 10 fixtures will then take place between June 19 and 22 with Black Lives Matter on the back of players’ shirts.

For the remaining 80 matches of the campaign, a Black Lives Matter logo will feature on shirts along with a badge thanking Britain’s National Health Service for their work during the coronavirus crisis.

AFP

Italian Cup: Ronaldo Misses Penalty In Milan Clash

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) semi-final second leg football match Juventus vs AC Milan on June 12, 2020 at the Allianz stadium in Turin. Miguel MEDINA / AFP

 

Juventus’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo on Friday missed a penalty during the Italian Cup (Coppa Italia) semi-final second leg football match against AC Milan.

The superstar hit the post in the second leg clash against AC Milan with the aggregate score at 1-1.

Fans were quick to take to social media and say Ronaldo was copying his Barcelona rival Lionel Messi in missing the penalty.

Meanwhile, Juve are missing captain Giorgio Chiellini, striker Gonzalo Higuain, Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey and Turkey defender Merih Demiral.

On the other hand, Milan are without injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic as they attempt to beat Juve in Turin for the first time since 2011. Forward Samu Castillejo and defender Theo Hernandez are suspended.

More to follow…

Lewandowski Fires Bayern Munich Into German Cup Final

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (R) attempts to score past Frankfurt’s German goalkeeper Kevin Trapp during the German Cup (DFB Pokal) semi-final football match FC Bayern Munich v Eintracht Frankfurt in Munich, southern Germany on June 10, 2020. AFP

 

Bayern Munich stayed on course for the double this season after the Bundesliga leaders squeezed past Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 in Wednesday’s German Cup semi-final behind closed doors.

Bayern’s early goal by Ivan Perisic was cancelled out by a second-half equaliser from Danny da Costa, who had only been on three minutes, before Lewandowski sealed the home win with his 45th goal this season in all competitions.

Bayern, who are seven points clear in the Bundesliga with four games left, face Bayer Leverkusen, who beat fourth-tier side Saarbruecken 3-0 in Tuesday’s other semi, in the cup final at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on July 4.

AFP

Bayern Close On Title As Bundesliga Steps Up Racism Protests

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (C) heads to score his team’s fourth goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern Munich on June 6, 2020 in Leverkusen, western Germany. Matthias Hangst / POOL / AFP

 

Bundesliga players wore black armbands and took the knee in displays of support for the Black Lives Matter protests on Saturday, as Bayern Munich kept title rivals Borussia Dortmund at bay with a ninth successive win.

Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski scored his 30th league goal of the season as Bayern came from behind to claim a 4-2 victory over Bayer Leverkusen, a win which kept them seven points ahead of second-placed Dortmund, who beat Hertha Berlin 1-0.

After Lucas Alario secured an early lead for the home side, Bayern struck twice in quick succession just before half-time to turn the game in their favour after Kingsley Coman’s equaliser.

A mistake from Moussa Diaby allowed Coman to curl in the equaliser, before a fizzing shot from Leon Goretzka and an elegant lob from Serge Gnabry saw Bayern take a two-goal lead into the break.

“We didn’t start well, but I think it’s something which really distinguishes us at the moment, that we are able to fight our way back into games,” Goretzka told Sky.

Lewandowski sealed the win in the second half, equalling his most prolific Bundesliga season, although Leverkusen teenager Florian Wirtz struck late on to become the Bundesliga’s youngest-ever scorer at just 17 years and 34 days.

READ ALSO: Man City Face Critical Appeal Against Two-Season European Ban

“We already knew he was a huge talent,” said Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz of the teenager, who beat the record set by Nuri Sahin for Borussia Dortmund in November 2005 by 48 days.

As thousands of protesters assembled in city centres across Germany, both of the country’s top two clubs also used Saturday’s games to make statements against police brutality and racism.

Dortmund players warmed up in T-shirts bearing messages of solidarity such as “no justice, no peace”, before taking the knee in the centre circle with their Hertha colleagues for a moment’s silence before kick-off.

Bayern players, meanwhile, wore black “Black Lives Matter” armbands during their rampant win over Leverkusen.

“As players, we always have the same message — we are tolerant, we are open, we are open to the world,” Bayern captain Manuel Neuer told Sky.

– Can keeps Dortmund hopes alive? –

Dortmund battled to a 1-0 home win over Hertha thanks to a second-half strike from Emre Can.

England winger Jadon Sancho, who was among the first Bundesliga players to lend his voice to the protests last weekend, missed from close range just after the break before setting up Can with a deft chip over the back line on 57 minutes.

A late equaliser from Christian Strohdiek saw bottom-of-the-table Paderborn snatch a 1-1 draw away to RB Leipzig.

Timo Werner set up Patrik Schick on 27 minutes to give Leipzig the lead, but they were forced to defend it with 10 men after Dayot Upamecano was booked twice in the first half.

Strohdiek’s last-minute strike gave Paderborn their fourth draw in five games, though Steffen Baumgart’s side remain eight points off Fortuna Duesseldorf, who occupy the relegation play-off place.

Duesseldorf themselves missed the chance to move towards safety, as they battled to a dramatic 2-2 draw against 10-man Hoffenheim.

A headed opener from Rouwen Hennings and a red card for Hoffenheim’s Benjamin Huebner put the home side in pole position.

However, the visitors struck back with goals from Munas Dabbur and Steven Zuber before Hennings saved a point with a late penalty.

Uwe Roesler’s side remain three points adrift of safety in the relegation play-off place, after goals from Moussa Niakhate and Pierre Kunde Malong gave fellow strugglers Mainz a rare win over local rivals Eintracht Frankfurt.

Having sealed a crucial win with his 77th-minute strike, Cameroon international Kunde also joined the protests, taking a knee in place of a celebration.

“I think it’s good. It isn’t a political statement, it’s just a position, and these are values that we have. For me, there is no other possible position to take,” said Mainz sporting director Rouven Schroeder.

str/jc/dj

Bundesliga: Lewandowski Scores 30th Goal Of Season

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (C) heads to score his team’s fourth goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern Munich on June 6, 2020 in Leverkusen, western Germany. Matthias Hangst / POOL / AFP

 

Robert Lewandowski scored his 30th league goal of the season on Saturday as Bayern Munich came from behind to claim a 4-2 victory at Bayer Leverkusen and move a step closer to the Bundesliga title.

After Lucas Alario secured an early lead for the home side, Bayern struck twice in quick succession just before half-time to turn the game in their favour after Kingsley Coman’s equaliser.

Lewandowski netted in the second half as Bayern established a 10-point lead over title rivals Borussia Dortmund, who host Hertha Berlin later on Saturday.

The game also saw Bayern lend their support to protests over the death of black American man George Floyd, with all players wearing armbands bearing the slogan “Black Lives Matter”.

AFP

George Floyd: Ujah Proud Of Players Staging Anti-Racism Protests

These images taken on May 25, 2020, from a video courtesy of Darnella Frazier via Facebook, shows Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during the arrest of George Floyd. Darnella Frazier / Facebook/Darnella Frazier / AFP
These images taken on May 25, 2020, from a video courtesy of Darnella Frazier via Facebook, shows Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during the arrest of George Floyd. Darnella Frazier / Facebook/Darnella Frazier / AFP

 

Union Berlin’s Nigerian striker Anthony Ujah said he is “proud” of Jadon Sancho and other Bundesliga players who staged on-pitch protests following the death of black American George Floyd and pledged to do the same if he scores against Schalke this Sunday. 

“I am proud of the players who are taking a stand. I am proud of Jadon Sancho. I am proud of Weston McKennie. I am proud of Marcus Thuram. I am proud of Achraf Hakimi. The whole world saw their message,” wrote Ujah in an article for German daily FAZ.

After scoring in Dortmund’s win at Paderborn on Sunday, England winger Sancho lifted his shirt to reveal the message “Justice for George Floyd”. He was booked, but for lifting his shirt over his head rather than for the message.

His Dortmund team-mate Hakimi unveiled a similar t-shirt, while Schalke’s McKennie wrote the same message on his captain’s armband during a defeat to Werder Bremen. Gladbach striker Thuram, meanwhile, dropped to one knee after scoring against Union.

The German Football Association (DFB) later decided not to sanction the four players for what they said were “symbols of solidarity”.

“This line will also be taken should further players make demonstrations on racism and the death of Floyd over the course of upcoming matchdays,” the DFB added.

Ujah, who staged a similar protest while playing for Cologne six years ago following the death of another black American man Eric Garner, said he would not hesitate to do so again.

“Six years later, we are again talking about exactly the same thing. A black person is no longer able to breathe and loses his life under police violence. That is a disgrace. Every year we hope that it will improve, but exactly the same things happen again,” said the Nigerian.

AFP

Lewandowski Scores Twice As Bayern Go 10 Points Clear

Bayern Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates the 3-0 during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich v Fortuna Duesseldorf on May 30, 2020 in Munich, southern Germany. Christof STACHE / AFP / POOL
Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates the 3-0 during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich v Fortuna Duesseldorf on May 30, 2020 in Munich, southern Germany. Christof STACHE / AFP / POOL

 

Bayern Munich opened a 10-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday with a 5-0 drubbing of relegation-threatened Fortuna Dusseldorf behind closed doors with the league’s top-scorer Robert Lewandowski scoring twice.

Duesseldorf defender Mathias Joergensen scored an early own goal before Benjamin Pavard, Lewandowski (2) and Alphonso Davies hit the target.

With five games left, Bayern, who have won their last eight league games, are comfortably on course for an eighth straight league title.

However, second-placed Borussia Dortmund could trim their lead on Sunday at bottom side Paderborn.

Lewandowski, who had never previously scored in six games against Duesseldorf, made amends with goals either side of half-time.

Fortuna, who were unbeaten in their three games since the league resumed after a two-month coronavirus-enforced hiatus, were humbled at the Allianz Arena where they last poached a 3-3 draw in November 2018.

They fell behind on 15 minutes when Joergensen turned the ball into his own net after Pavard mishit his shot.

Right-back Pavard then grabbed the second with a powerful header on 29 minutes before Lewandowski made it 3-0 just before the break after being presented with a tap-in by Thomas Mueller.

Duesseldorf were floored with two goals in as many minutes as Lewandowski profited again with another poacher’s goal after Serge Gnabry’s good work.

Davies then scored the game’s best goal.

After some high pressing, the Canadian teen won the ball in the Duesseldorf area, barged past a succession of defenders and fired home to make it 5-0 on 52 minutes.

US death protest

Werder Bremen boosted their survival hopes with a 1-0 win at Schalke, who are winless in 11 games and continue to plummet.

Midfielder Leonardo Bittencourt scored a first-half winner.

“This is a very, very important away win,” said Bremen coach Florian Kohfeldt.

“We have taken seven points from the last three games, but if you look at the table, we are still behind.”

Bremen have spent more seasons in the Bundesliga than any other club, but currently sit second from bottom.

However, Saturday’s victory leaves them just three points from guaranteed safety with six games left.

They are two points behind Duesseldorf in 16th, which carries a relegation play-off at the end of the season.

Werder could climb out of the relegation places for the first time since December on Wednesday if they beat Eintracht Frankfurt at home.

Bittencourt hit a stunning strike from just outside the box which beat Schalke’s Bayern-bound goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel on 32 minutes.

Schalke succumbed to their fourth straight defeat, piling pressure on head coach David Wagner.

In the same game, Schalke’s American midfielder Weston McKennie wore a ‘Justice for George’ armband as part of the growing protests over the death of an unarmed black man during a police arrest in the United States.

“To be able to use my platform to bring attention to a problem that has been going on too long feels good!!!,” tweeted 21-year-old McKennie.

“We have to stand up for what we believe in and I believe that it is time that we are heard.”

George Floyd died in Minneapolis in an arrest by a police officer who pinned him to the ground for several minutes by kneeling on his neck.

Hertha on the rise

Hertha remain unbeaten with three wins and a draw since Bruno Labbadia took charge during the lockdown after their 2-0 win at home to Augsburg thanks for goals by Javairo Dilrosun and Krzysztof Piatek.

Having routed Leverkusen 4-1 away on Tuesday, Wolfsburg crashed to a 2-1 defeat at home to 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt.

Japan midfielder Daichi Kamada scored the winner 10 minutes from time while Frankfurt had replacement midfielder Lucas Torro sent off in the dying stages for a second yellow card.

Frankfurt took the lead when striker Andre Silva converted a penalty on 27 minutes, but Wolfsburg equalised when right-back Kevin Mbabu headed home on 58 minutes.

Hoffenheim are seventh after their 1-0 win at Mainz thanks to Ihlas Bebou who darted into the area, swept past two defenders, and fired home on 43 minutes.

On Friday, Leverkusen went third when Germany midfielder Kai Havertz became the first player in Bundesliga history to score 35 goals before his 21st birthday to seal a 1-0 win at Freiburg.

Bayern Beat Dortmund To Close In On Bundesliga Title

Dortmund's German forward Julian Brandt (C) vies for the ball with (L-R) Bayern Munich's Canadian midfielder Alphonso Davies, Bayern Munich's German forward Thomas Mueller, Bayern Munich's French defender Benjamin Pavard and Bayern Munich's German defender Jerome Boateng during the German first division Bundesliga football match BVB Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern Munich on May 26, 2020 in Dortmund, western Germany. Federico GAMBARINI / POOL / AFP
Dortmund’s German forward Julian Brandt (C) vies for the ball with (L-R) Bayern Munich’s Canadian midfielder Alphonso Davies, Bayern Munich’s German forward Thomas Mueller, Bayern Munich’s French defender Benjamin Pavard and Bayern Munich’s German defender Jerome Boateng during the German first division Bundesliga football match BVB Borussia Dortmund v FC Bayern Munich on May 26, 2020 in Dortmund, western Germany. Federico GAMBARINI / POOL / AFP

 

Joshua Kimmich described his winning goal as “brutally important” after Bayern Munich took a huge step towards an eighth straight Bundesliga title on Tuesday with a 1-0 win at Borussia Dortmund to leave them seven points clear at the top with just six games left.

Kimmich’s brilliant effort came just before half-time behind closed doors at Signal Iduna Park as hosts Dortmund missed the chance to turn up the heat on the Bavarians without the backing of their huge support.

“It was brutally important: I looked around to see if everyone understood how important it was,” Kimmich said of his deft chip.

Kimmich’s captain Manuel Neuer echoed the defensive midfielder’s thoughts.

“That was a very important sign,” said Neuer.

Bayern won 4-0 when the teams met in Munich in November and they kept up their excellent recent record against second-placed Dortmund.

“Now only Bayern can decide what happens,” said frustrated Dortmund captain Mats Hummels.

“Sometimes, games are decided by brilliant moments and that was the case today.”

Dortmund’s star teenage striker, Erling Braut Haaland, who had scored ten goals in as many league games, failed to make an impact against Bayern’s watertight defence before going off injured in the second half.

Jerome Boateng and David Alaba gave him no room, while Kimmich and Leon Goretzka in midfield made sure passes intended for him rarely met their mark. The Norway forward limped off with 20 minutes left after a heavy tackle from Boateng.

Cleared chances

Things might have been different, with Haaland coming close inside the first minute with an attempt that went through the legs of Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer but was kicked off the line by Boateng.

At the other end, Lukasz Piszczek cleared a Serge Gnabry shot inches from the line, while moments later Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Buerki denied Kingsley Coman.

Bayern were in control, and Kimmich grabbed what proved to be the winner two minutes before half-time when he chipped Buerki from 20 yards.

It was the Germany international’s third league goal from outside the box this season.

In an attempt to turn the game around, Dortmund coach Lucien Favre brought on midfield enforcer Emre Can at the start of the second half and added the pace of Jadon Sancho on the wing.

The home side had a shout for a penalty just before the hour mark when a Haaland shot was deflected wide by the arm of Boateng, but nothing was given.

Shortly after, Haaland limped off to be replaced by 17-year-old Giovanni Reyna.

In the dying stages, Favre brought on 2014 World Cup winner Mario Goetze, who is out of contract next month and set to leave, in the vain hope of grabbing an equaliser.

With time running out, Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski hit the post.

The league’s top scorer then had a strong appeal for a late penalty waved away after a push in the area by Dortmund defender Manuel Akanji.

But the roars of celebration at the end came from the Bayern bench and echoed around the near-empty stadium.

Leverkusen crash

Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen dropped to fifth after being routed 4-1 at home by Wolfsburg, whose defender Marin Pongracic claimed two goals.

It was a shock defeat at home for Peter Bosz-coached Leverkusen who had won their previous 12 games.

Borussia Moenchengladbach climbed over Leverkusen into fourth with a goalless draw at second-from-bottom Werder Bremen, who are two points from safety.

Eintracht Frankfurt took a point at home in a 3-3 draw with Freiburg thanks to late goals by Timothy Chandler and Japan striker Daichi Kamada.

Third-placed RB Leipzig can draw level on points with Dortmund if they win on Wednesday at home to Hertha Berlin, who have won both games so far under new head coach Bruno Labbadia.

Leipzig will be without Danish striker Yussuf Poulsen, who is set to miss the rest of the season with injury.