Arjen Robben’s 100th goal for German champions Bayern Munich sent them on their way to a 2-0 win over Freiburg and extended their lead at the top of the Bundesliga table on Tuesday. (Also read: Real Madrid cruise to Club World Cup final)
Goals by Robben and Thomas Mueller sealed Bayern’s win which gave them a 12 point lead over VfL Wolfsburg, who play struggling Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday. (Chelsea F.C. in League Cup semis)
However, Bayern’s win came at a cost as defender Mehdi Benatia, striker Robert Lewandowski and midfielder Xabi Alonso picked up injuries.
Benatia will definitely miss the final game of the year against Mainz on Friday with a groin injury while both Lewandowski and Alonso took knocks to their right ankles.
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had described Robben as the “best outfield player in the world” after the Dutch winger scored twice in Bayern’s 4-0 thrashing of Augsburg last Saturday.
The 30-year-old certainly didn’t let Rummenigge regret his words in Tuesday’s game as he headed home Bayern’s opener and claim his ninth goal in 12 Bundesliga games.
Mueller added Bayern’s second to wrap up the points.
“It was a good result, we would have liked a few more goals, but they packed men behind the ball, so we’re very happy with the win,” said Mueller.
With second-placed Wolfsburg playing at joint second-from-bottom Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday, Bayern took the chance to further extend their huge lead at Munich’s Allianz Arena.
“It’s nice to have a 12-point lead, that was our goal, we were very dominant and we did our job,” added Mueller.
Only a superb display from Freiburg goalkeeper Roman Burki kept the scoreline respectable as Bayern fired in 31 shots on goal — a Bundesliga record this season.
With Freiburg packing their defence and Bayern enjoying more than 80 percent possession, it was only a matter of time before the hosts took the lead.
However, it still took till four minutes before half-time to break the deadlock.
Franck Ribery — who also brought up his century of goals for the club earlier this month — headed back across goal and Robben headed down the bouncing ball past Burki.
The hosts’ second goal came from a superb bit of skill.
Robben’s accurate long-range pass was met by Spain’s Juan Bernat, who put in a superb cross with a deft touch which Burki deflected onto the crossbar only for Mueller to head home on 48 minutes.
In Tuesday’s other matches, ten-man Stuttgart climbed out of the bottom three with a 1-0 win at fellow strugglers Hamburg thanks to Florian Klein’s first-half winner.
The visitors played the best part of the second half a man down after defender Georg Niedermeier was shown a straight red for pulling back Hamburg striker Artjoms Rudnevs just after the break.
Augsburg stay fifth despite their second straight defeat as they went down 2-0 at Hanover 96 while mid-table Mainz warmed up for Friday’s visit by Bayern with a goalless draw at Cologne.