BERLIN (AFP) – Defending champions Bayern Munich drew level at the top of the Bundesliga on points alongside leaders Borussia Dortmund on Saturday night with a 5-1 thrashing of Borussia Moenchengladbach.
After Dortmund stumbled to a shock 2-1 defeat at Augsburg on Friday, Bayern seized their chance as Robert Lewandowski scored twice with Javi Martinez, Thomas Mueller and Serge Gnabry also netting.
This was Bayern’s 11th win in 12 league games, a run which has allowed them to erode the nine-point lead Dortmund held in December with only a goal difference of two now separating the sides, both on 54 points.
Despite illness and injury hitting their squad, Bayern needed just two minutes to take the lead at Borussia Park when midfielder Martinez headed home from a corner.
Mueller made it 2-0 after 11 minutes by tapping home a Gnabry cross.
Gladbach briefly rallied when their captain Lars Stindl pulled a goal back eight minutes from the break after Thorgan Hazard poked the ball through Niklas Suele’s legs for his skipper to fire home.
However, Lewandowski made sure of the win after he converted a dream pass from Thiago Alcantara to smash the ball high into the net on 47 minutes.
Gnabry added Bayern’s fourth before Lewandowski netted a late penalty for his 195th Bundesliga goal – making him the league’s joint top-scoring foreign player alongside Werder Bremen’s 40-year-old Peru striker Claudio Pizzaro.
The result avenged Bayern’s shock 3-0 defeat to Gladbach in Munich in October.
Earlier, Schalke crashed 4-0 at home to Fortuna Duesseldorf to increase pressure on head coach Domenico Tedesco.
Director of Sport Christian Heidel resigned after last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at Mainz and the first job of his replacement Jochen Schneider, who starts work tomorrow, could be to sack Tedesco.
“The sports director has not started yet, he will say something on Tuesday,” said Schalke chairman Clemens Toennies after defeat at the Veltins Arena left them 14th – seven points from the relegation places.
Schalke face Manchester City away on March 12 in the Champions League last 16 looking to overturn a 3-2 defeat from the first leg, but Tedesco could be gone before then following their 13th defeat in 24 league games.