Berlin, May 23 (efe-epa).- Bayern Munich defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 5-2 Saturday to go 4 points clear of second-place Borussia Dortmund in the fight for the 2019-2020 Bundesliga title.
The Bavarian squad needed to win to keep their pursuit of an eighth consecutive German championship on track after Dortmund pulled to within a point with a 2-0 victory over Wolfsburg earlier Saturday.
Bayern and Dortmund combined have won 22 Bundesliga crowns over the last 26 seasons. They are also the only German clubs to have won the UEFA Champions League.
Frankfurt, who embarrassed Bayern 5-1 in their first meeting of the season, showed signs of promise in the early stages of the contest at Munich’s Allianz Arena.
But the hosts didn’t take long to demonstrate their superiority over 13th-place Eintracht.
Robert Lewandowski hit the cross-bar with a shot off a corner in the 11th minute and Benjamin Pavard’s thunderous header missed the mark before Leon Goretzka converted a cross from Thomas Müller to put Bayern on the board in the 17th minute.
Müller increased the advantage to 2-0 with a goal in the 41st minute.
Bayern’s third goal came barely a minute into the second half, as Lewandowski headed-in a cross from Kingsley Coman.
The rout appeared to be on, but Frankfurt managed to cut the deficit to one, thanks to a pair of corner kicks resulting in goals in the 51st and 55th minutes by Martin Hinteregger.
Alphonso Davies beat the Frankfurt defenders to a loose ball to widen the Bavarians’ lead to 4-2 in the 61st minute.
Mijat Gacinovic had a chance to pull back a goal for the visitors in the 68th moment, but Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer denied the Serb.
Six minutes later, Hinteregger completed the hat trick – though not in the way he would have wished – by inadvertently putting the ball in the Frankfurt net while battling for possession with Bayern’s Serge Gnabry.
After the results on Saturday, next week’s Klassiker between Bayern and Dortmund is shaping up as potentially decisive for the title race in a season overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic, which forced play to be suspended for two months.
And while games have resumed, the action is taking place behind closed doors, a situation highlighted by Müller in comments to Sky Sports following the match against Frankfurt.
“We don’t really know how to get into these games without spectators, but I expect us, and myself, to go to our limits anyway,” he said, referring to next Tuesday’s showdown with Dortmund at Signal Iduna Arena, which would ordinarily be filled with a raucous crowd of 82,000 to cheer on the hosts against Bayern.
“Of course, we’d like to have the fans there. There’s nothing more beautiful than playing these matches against Dortmund at the Allianz Arena or in Dortmund,” Müller told Sky. “But that’s our job, and we’re going to show that even without spectators we’re capable of playing football with passion.”
For Saturday’s contest at Wolfsburg, Dortmund coach Lucien Favre stuck with the same starting 11 who pummeled Schalke 4-0 last weekend as the Bundesliga returned to action.
The visitors were in command from the opening whistle, but struggled to create quality chances.
Thorgan Hazard, younger sibling of Real Madrid’s Eden, fired over the cross-bar in the 16th minute, though the Belgian made up for it by setting up Raphael Guerreiro’s goal in the 32nd.
The play began with Julian Brandt’s releasing Achraf Hakimi down the right side. The Morocco international advanced the ball to Hazard, whose cross found Guerreiro in the 18-yard box while the Wolfsburg defenders were busy marking Erling Haaland, the teenage Dortmund striker being linked in the media with a possible move to any of a number of elite clubs including Real Madrid and Juventus.