Mueller’s 100th Bundesliga goal as Bayern gets 16-point lead
BERLIN (AP) — Thomas Mueller took his Bundesliga tally to 100 goals to help Bayern Munich stretch its considerable league lead even further Sunday with a 4-2 win over visiting Werder Bremen.
“It’s always nice to score,” the Germany forward said. “I didn’t have the mark in mind, but of course it’s nice. I’ll take the day with me to bed.”
Robert Lewandowski also had a day to remember as he scored two to become Bayern’s most prolific non-German scorer in the Bundesliga with 94 goals. His teammate, Dutch winger Arjen Robben, has 93.
It was the sixth consecutive round in which Bayern has extended its lead since a defeat at Borussia Moenchengladbach in the 13th round — Jupp Heynckes’ only blot in 17 games across all competitions since he returned as coach.
Bayern moved 16 points clear after 19 games.
Despite facing a relegation fight and aware of the side’s terrible record in Munich - Bayern scored at least five goals in each of Bremen’s last five visits - the visiting players showed they weren’t overawed and started brightly.
Max Kruse struck the post early on, and the visitors duly went ahead in the 25th minute when Kruse timed his pass perfectly for Jerome Gondorf to squeeze the ball past Sven Ulreich, through the goalkeeper’s legs.
But Bayern struck back with its first real chance minutes before the break. Mueller controlled Jerome Boateng’s cross on his chest with his first touch and profited from defender Milos Veljkovic’s loss of balance as he scored with his next.
Lewandowski, who skipped Bayern’s previous game with a knee problem, put the home side in front with a powerful header from James Rodriguez’ corner with a half-hour remaining.
An own-goal from Niklas Suele gave Bremen renewed hope, but Lewandowski grabbed his league-leading 17th goal of the season minutes later with another header, this time Mueller providing the cross.
Mueller then sealed it late with his second of the game off a ball over the top from James.
Mueller suggested Bayern’s nine-day break between games had a negative impact as the team had an even tougher week than usual in training.
“Perhaps that’s a small reason (for Bayern’s lackluster start),” Mueller said. “We certainly have to work on a few things, like we do after every game. We’re not yet where we want to be. But the team’s attitude and condition are excellent.”
Niclas Fuellkrug scored late for Hannover to grab a 1-1 draw at Schalke, denying the home side the opportunity to go second.
Much of the Schalke supporters’ attention was focused on Leon Goretzka, the Germany midfielder who agreed to join Bayern on a free transfer at the end of the season.
There were whistles for Goretzka as his name was called out before kickoff, and there were more any time he touched the ball before he was eventually taken off for Weston McKennie.
Some fans held a large banner declaring: “Neither money nor titles are worth more than our club.”
Marko Pjaca scored early on his first Bundesliga start after joining Schalke from Juventus, but the home side did not press its advantage and Fuellkrug earned the visitors a deserved share of the points. Hannover’s Felix Klaus hit the post in the first half.