Bayern defend top spot in German Bundesliga

Berlin, Dec 22 (IANS) Bayern Munich provided three first-half goals to beat 10-man Leipzig in the top clash, while Hertha Berlin tamed Darmstadt 2-0 to move into the top three at the closer of the 16th round of Bundesliga.

The “Bavarians” will spend the winter break atop the Bundesliga standings as they moved 3-0 past the surprise title rivals Leipzig, who suffered their second loss of the season on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Newly-promoted stunner team Leipzig grabbed the first chance of the game as Timo Werner’s square pass dangerously crossed Bayern’s goal area in the opening period.

As the match progressed, Bayern Munich assumed full control of the proceedings on the pitch as Thiago Alcantara poked home Robert Lewandowski’s shot on target, which dropped off the left post in the 17th minute.

The hosts gained momentum and doubled the lead through Xabi Alonso, who capitalized on an assist from Alcantara and a turnover from Leipzig’s Naby Keita to slot home from the edge of the box in the 25th minute.

Things went from bad to worse for the Bundesliga newcomers as Emil Forsberg received his marching orders after seeing a straight red card, following a rude foul play to Philipp Lahm 30 minutes into the game.

Bayern continued their relentless performance and tripled the lead as Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulasci brought down Douglas Costa inside the box allowing Robert Lewandowski to reap his 12th goal of the season from the penalty spot just before the break.

After the restart, Bayern remained in control of the game and pressed Leipzig into the defense. But the German giants were unable to add another goal to their lead, despite promising opportunities from Juan Bernat, Franck Ribery and Douglas Costas.

With the result, front-runners Bayern moved three points clear of Leipzig, who remain in 2nd place of the standings.

The Bundesliga will return from the winter break on January 20 when Freiburg host leaders Bayern Munich for the opener of the 17th round.

–IANS

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