Bayern Munich came up with the perfect reply to Borussia Dortmund’s earlier victory on Saturday — by thrashing Eintracht Frankfurt 5-2 to maintain their post-coronavirus lockdown four-point lead over their Bundesliga title rivals.
Dortmund had kept pressure on Bayern with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Wolfsburg at Volkswagen Stadium.
With the Bundesliga still finding its feet following its return to action from a COVID-19-enforced two-month break, Dortmund had closed the gap on the league leaders Bayern to a single point thanks to a strike from Raphael Guerreiro just after the half-hour mark and a late second from Achraf Hakimi.
Julian Brandt did the hard work for the opener on the right before Achraf found Thorgan Hazard. The brother of Real Madrid star Eden played in Erling Haaland, who fluffed his lines but a grateful Guerreiro was on hand to tap home.
It was nervous at times for the visitors before Achraf made sure of the win with 12 minutes remaining. Jadon Sancho teed up the Moroccan, who smashed home to the delight of his teammates.
Given their wealth of young talent, Dortmund were far from their best and a shaky defence was nearly caught out on more than one occasion, but their resilience got them over the line and ensured they came away with three vital points.
However, Bayern were unfazed when they took to the field at the Allianz Arena around two hours later and Leon Goretzka fired them into an early lead.
Strikes from Thomas Mueller and Robert Lewandowski just before and after the interval put Bayern on easy street and the game looked done and dusted.
Eintracht had other ideas however and — having been played off the park for 50 minutes, the visitors suddenly woke up. Martin Hinteregger was the key ingredient as he grabbed two quick goals inside three minutes to leave Bayern looking a lot more insecure.
But Alphonso Davies allowed them to breathe a little easier when he grabbed their fourth with a little under 30 minutes remaining. Sadly for Eintracht, Hinteregger’s good word was undone when he bundled the ball into his own net to restore Bayer’s three-goal advantage and allow them to ease to victory.
Elsewhere, Borussia Moenchengladbach’s 20,000 fans were silenced during the 3-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen — literally. Thanks to the supporter ban at stadiums due to coronavirus Gladbach came up with the innovative idea of having cut-out images of their season-ticket-holding fans filling their seats for the visit of Leverkusen.
But their virtual backing could not prevent them going down to a double from Kai Havertz and a late strike from Sven Bender. Gladbach’s goal came from Marcus Thuram, son of France legend Lilian.
Havertz has now equalled Klaus Fischer’s record of 34 Bundesliga goals scored before their 21st birthday.
Freiburg went down 1-0 to Werder Bremen, while Paderborn drew 1-1 with Hoffenheim.
On Friday night, Hertha claimed the Berlin derby bragging rights as they strolled to a 4-0 victory over union in their almost empty 74,000-capacity Olympic Stadium.
Hertha moved up to 10th place thanks to second-half goals from Vedad Ibisevic, Dodi Lukebakio, Matheus Cunha and Dedryck Boyata.
“It would have been fantastic if we could have played a game like that in front of 75,000 spectators. But I hope that the fans at least had fun in front of their TVs,” said Hertha coach Bruno Labbadia.
Dortmund also announced that German World Cup winner Mario Gotze will leave the club at the end of the season when his contract expires.
Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said that he spoke with Gotze and they agreed he would move on for next season.
“I believe this makes sense for both parties,” Zorc said.
Gotze scored the winning goal against Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final, catapulting him to hero status in Germany.
The 27-year-old forward has played 218 times for Dortmund in two spells with the club but has struggled to earn game time this season. He’s played just 20 minutes in all competitions in 2020.
Bayern Munich 5 Eintracht Frankfurt 2
Borussia M’gladbach 1 Bayer Leverkusen 3
Wolfsburg 0 Borussia Dortmund 2
Freiburg 0 Werder Bremen 1
Paderborn 1 Hoffenheim 1