BERLIN (AP) — Bundesliga top-scorer Robert Lewandowski took his tally to 24 goals this season as Bayern Munich avenged its only defeat of 2020 with a 4-1 win over Hoffenheim on Saturday.
Bayern was beaten by Hoffenheim — also 4-1 — for its only loss across all competitions last year and was in no mood for a repeat despite the absences of midfielders Leon Goretzka and Javi Martínez due to coronavirus infections.
New signing Marc Roca made a rare start as the Bavarian powerhouse and league leader stretched its winning run to four games following the rare losses to Borussia Mönchengladbach and Holstein Kiel in the league and cup, respectively, in January.
“We’re on the right path,” said Thomas Müller, who scored for the fourth consecutive game.
Jérôme Boateng opened the scoring with a header off Joshua Kimmich’s corner in the 32nd before Lewandowski set up Müller in the 43rd.
Andrej Kramaric pulled one back a minute later for Hoffenheim, but Lewandowski scored for the ninth consecutive game in the 57th, and Serge Gnabry made sure with Bayern’s fourth in the 63rd.
“It wasn’t all top but we played a good game,” said Bayern coach Hansi Flick, whose team stayed seven points clear of Leipzig.
LEIPZIG BEST OF THE REST
Christopher Nkunku's 51st-minute strike was enough for Leipzig to consolidate second place with a 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the late game.
“We had to take a big setback in Mainz last weekend (losing 3-2 in the Bundesliga) and we wanted to show a reaction,” Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff said.
Borussia Dortmund ended its three-game winless run with a 3-1 victory over Augsburg.
Coach Edin Terzić made three changes to the team that lost 4-2 to Gladbach, with goalkeeper Marwin Hitz coming in for the injured Roman Bürki, who was heavily criticized for his performance in the Gladbach defeat.
But Hitz was picking the ball out of his net in the 10th minute when André Hahn fired the visitors in front.
Erling Haaland struck his penalty off the crossbar in the 21st, and Rafa Gikiewicz saved his header two minutes later, but Thomas Delaney finally made the home side’s pressure count when he headed in the equalizer in the 26th.
Jadon Sancho scored in the 63rd and an own-goal from Felix Uduokhai in the 75th extended the lead.
“It wasn’t just the result, the performance was also good,” Terzić said. “We’re relieved. We created a lot of chances against a defensively minded block.”
Pál Dárdai’s return as Hertha Berlin coach ended in a 3-1 loss at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Dárdai started with Rune Jarstein back in goal instead of Alexander Schwolow, who had been the undisputed No. 1 since joining in the summer.
Jarstein made two brilliant saves to keep the game scoreless at halftime and Krzysztof Piatek fired the visitors ahead in the 66th.
The lead only lasted a minute, however, before André Silva equalized. Martin Hinteregger headed Frankfurt’s second in the 84th and Silva sealed the win with a penalty in injury time.
“After four training sessions, everything was OK, just the result not,” said Dárdai, who took over from the fired Bruno Labbadia on Monday.
UNION’S BIG POINT
Union Berlin bounced back from its first successive defeats by holding Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-1, and Liverpool loan keeper Loris Karius helped secure the point with a fine save in injury time.
Karius made his league debut for Union in the second half after regular goalkeeper Andreas Luthe had to go off after a collision with teammate Robin Knoche and Gladbach forward Marcus Thuram in a race for the ball.
“He was dizzy when he got up. It’s our responsibility to make a change,” Union coach Urs Fischer said.
Knoche headed inside the left post in the 31st and Union missed several chances to build on its lead before Jonas Hofmann set up Alassane Plea to equalize in the 59th.
“Altogether a fair draw,” said Gladbach coach Marco Rose, who was booked for excessive protests in the first half. “Hats off to Union Berlin.”
Last-place Schalke drew at Werder Bremen 1-1.
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