Berlin, Jun 13 (efe-epa).- Bayern Munich topped Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-1 Saturday on a late goal by Leon Goretzka and need just 3 more points to clinch a record eighth straight Bundesliga title.
The Bavarians have 73 points, 7 more than second-place Borussia Dortmund with three matches left in the coronavirus-disrupted season.
Despite the loss, fourth-place Gladbach remain in the thick of the scramble for the final Champions League slot.
Bayern started the contest at Munich’s Allianz Arena with major changes from the lineup that defeated Eintracht Frankfurt three days ago in the German Cup semifinal.
The defending champions replaced top scorer Robert Lewandowski and assist leader Thomas Müller – both suspended for an accumulation of yellow cards – with Joshua Zirkzee and Michaël Cuisance, respectively.
Cuisance created the first scoring chance for Bayern, a shot from inside the area in the 11th minute, five minutes before the visitors appeared to take the lead with a goal by Jonas Hoffmann.
The VAR review detected that one of the Gladbach players was offside and the scoreboard went back to 0-0.
Bayern’s Lucas Hernandez had an opportunity in the 22nd minute and Gladbach’s Breel Embolo forced a save from host goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the 25th.
A minute later, Zirkzee exploited a botched clearance by Gladbach keeper Yann Sommer to put Bayern up 1-0.
The equalizer for the traveling side came in the 37th minute courtesy of Bayern defender, whose effort to intercept a pass from Patrick Hermann to Hoffmann at the far post ended with the ball in Neuer’s net.
Gladbach were dominant for the opening 15 minutes of the second half, giving Neuer plenty to do.
The momentum shifted to Bayern after coach Hansi Flick made a double-change in the 62nd minute, sending in Kingsley Coman for Hernandez and Alphonso Davies for Cuisance.
Yet the sides remained level at 1-1 as the match entered the final stretch.
With four minutes left in regulation, Davies lofted a pass over the Gladbach defense to Pavard, who advanced the ball into the area before passing to Goretzka for the goal.
Bayern needed the victory to maintain the gap with Dortmund after the Ruhr Valley club eked out a 1-0 away win against 16th-place Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Dortmund needed a stoppage-time goal from teenage phenom Erling Haaland to avoid the embarrassment of dropping points to a team near the bottom of the table.
In Saturday’s other games, Wolfsburg blew a two-goal lead at home to draw with SC Freiburg, Werder Bremen thrashed last-place Paderborn 5-1 in a relegation duel, Frankfurt inflicted a 4-1 drubbing on Hertha Berlin and the other capital side, Union Berlin, beat Köln 2-1. EFE