• Perfect Bayern reclaims top spot in Germany

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    BERLIN: Leaders Bayern Munich are now the only team in Germany’s top flight still with a perfect 100 percent record following Wednesday’s (Thursday in Manila) 3-0 Bundesliga win at home to Hertha Berlin.

    Midfield stars Franck Ribery, Thiago Alcantara and Arjen Robben netted at the Allianz Arena in a workmanlike display from Carlo Ancelotti’s side to make it four wins from four league games.

    Hertha are fifth after dropping their first points of the season in Munich following three previous straight wins.

    “Today we played against a complete Bayern Munich team,” said Hertha coach Pal Dardai.

    “They played exceptionally well and deserved to win. We were compact in our defending, but we conceded goals unnecessarily.”

    Bayern went ahead with just 16 minutes gone when Ribery turned the Hertha defence inside out and then tapped his shot over the line.

    Hertha refused to panic — as most sides do when falling behind in Munich — and defended well, despite enjoying barely 20 percent possession.

    Berlin gifted Bayern their second goal when Brazilian defender Allan took too long on the ball in his own area, Thiago robbed him of possession and drilled his shot home unopposed on 68 minutes.

    Bayern then hit top gear.

    Striker Robert Lewandowski and Thiago pulled the Berlin defense apart to set up Robben, who came on for his first appearance of the season and crashed his shot home, with no defenders in sight, on 72 minutes.

    It was the Dutchman’s first goal for six months after a groin injury.

    “That was a huge feeling. I had goosebumps,” admitted Robben after his goal.

    The victory saw Bayern regain top spot from Borussia Dortmund, who temporarily claimed first place after their 5-1 drubbing of Wolfsburg on Tuesday, but dropped to third.

    Cologne are a surprise second after their 3-1 win at Schalke 04, who remain second from bottom after four straight defeats to increase the pressure on new coach Markus Weinzierl.

    Second-half goals by Anthony Modeste and Simon Zoller for the visitors sealed Cologne’s victory after Japan’s Yuya Osaka’s first half strike had cancelled out Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s early goal for Schalke.

    “We lost a game which we shouldn’t have lost and you could see the side was under pressure,” admitted Weinzierl, while Germany defender Benedikt Hoewedes admitted the disappointment was ‘running very deep’ in the squad.

    Werder Bremen, who sacked coach Viktor Skripnik on Monday after three defeats, remain bottom after a heart-breaking 2-1 loss at Mainz, who scored both of their goals in the final five minutes.

    Bayer Leverkusen was held to a goalless draw at home to Augsburg.

    Promoted RB Leipzig protected their unbeaten record in a 1-1 draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach, who host Barcelona in a plum Champions League clash next Wednesday.

    Leipzig were gifted the lead at their Red Bull Arena when a dreadful mix up in the Gladbach defense allowed Timo Werner to net his third goal in two games having also scored twice in Saturday’s 4-0 rout away to Hamburg.

    But USA international Fabian Johnson scored a late equalizer to spare Gladbach’s blushes.

    AFP

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