Sandro Wagner

Andreas Gebert/dpa via AP

Bundesliga: Bayern’s title march continues with 4-0 win (video)

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BERLIN (AP) Bayern Munich moved to a huge 20-point lead in the Bundesliga with only nine rounds left after a 4-0 win at Freiburg on Sunday, while Cologne’s slim hopes of survival took a hit.

Two goals in three minutes set Bayern on course for its 20th win in 25 games, leaving it just a matter of time before the Bavarian powerhouse wraps up its record-extending sixth consecutive title.

Jupp Heynckes’ side showed that last weekend’s draw at home to Hertha Berlin was only a temporary scare after a 15-game winning streak.

Thomas Mueller was at the heart of Bayern’s first goal after 24 minutes in which either side could have scored. The Bayern forward’s cross came back off Freiburg defender Caglar Soyuncu’s heel, and Mueller reacted quickly to send the ball back, where it ricocheted off Soyuncu and goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow to go in.

Corentin Tolisso then hammered a brilliant shot from around 30 meters (yards) inside the top right corner.

Sandro Wagner, playing in place of the rested Robert Lewandowski, killed any notion of a contest early in the second half after being set up by Mueller.

Mueller crowned his performance with the fourth goal — a half-volley to Joshua Kimmich’s corner at the near post — with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Cologne’s chances of an unlikely escape from relegation were hit as Stuttgart came from behind to win 3-2 on an afternoon to forget for goalkeeper Timo Horn.

Veteran striker Claudio Pizarro fired Cologne into an early lead and his side went on to dominate the first half.

Yuya Osako, who had sent Pizarro through, thought he’d scored himself toward the end of the half after Vincent Koziello managed to get the ball from goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler. But the video referee concluded the Hannover `keeper had the ball under control and the goal was disallowed.

It went from bad to worse for Cologne just before the break. Mario Gomez equalized against the run of play, and then scored again when Horn let his harmless shot slip through his arms. Stuttgart forward Daniel Ginczek consoled the Cologne `keeper.

“I’m not making any excuses. It’s a ball that a goalkeeper should get. It’s brutal, especially after such a good first half,” Horn said.

Andreas Beck made it 3-1 early in the second half, shooting inside the far post from a difficult angle, when again Horn looked far from impressive.

Cologne struggled to create chances afterward as Stuttgart sat back and defended, though Milos Jojic got the home fans going again when he scored late with a fine free kick.

Stuttgart held on, however, to climb to ninth with its fourth successive win under new coach Tayfun Korkut, who is unbeaten in five.

Home fans shouted Horn’s name after the game to show their support.

“That’s a huge gesture from the fans and one I’m grateful for,” the goalkeeper said.

Cologne remains bottom with just four wins, eight points from safety.

Bayern recovers to crush Hoffenheim 5-2, keeps 16-point lead

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BERLIN (AP) Sandro Wagner scored his first goal for Bayern Munich to wrap up a 5-2 win over his former team Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

League top-scorer Robert Lewandowski scored one and set up another as Bayern stayed on track for another title – a record-extending sixth straight – with a 16-point lead.

[ MORE: West Brom drops the hammer on Liverpool in FA Cup ]

“Altogether I’m satisfied, though I’m a coach who prefers not to concede,” said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, who has led his side to 17 wins in 18 games across all competitions since returning for a fourth stint in charge in October.

Bayern was two goals down after 12 minutes with its own striker Serge Gnabry – on loan at Hoffenheim – involved in both goals.

Gnabry missed a penalty after he was brought down by Joshua Kimmich, but Mark Uth scored on the rebound. Gnabry added a second by shooting from distance after Jerome Boateng tried to clear.

Lewandowski pulled one back with his 18th goal of the season.

Five minutes later Boateng made up for his earlier mistake by equalizing.

Kingsley Coman completed the turnaround midway through the second half, firing inside the far corner after Lewandowski played him in with a perfect chip.

Arturo Vital headed Bayern’s fourth minutes later, and Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes sent on Wagner to grab the fifth in the final minutes.

Wagner joined Bayern from Hoffenheim in December for a reported 12 million euros ($14 million) plus bonus payments.

AUBAMEYANG WHISTLED

Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was subjected to whistles from his own team’s fans as Freiburg held them to 2-2.

Aubameyang returned to the starting lineup after being left out of the squad for the last two games. Many supporters are unhappy with what they perceive as a lack of professionalism as he pushes for a move to Arsenal.

“No player is bigger than our club,” read one banner held up by fans.

Aubameyang was barely involved in the game.

“He’s had better days,” Dortmund coach Peter Stoeger said. “He was in the team because of his qualities. We know what he can do. He just didn’t show it today.”

Shinji Kagawa volleyed the home side into an early lead, but Nils Petersen equalized.

Petersen then fired the visitors ahead midway through the second half when he pounced on a mistake from Nuri Sahin and chipped Roman Buerki brilliantly from 40 yards.

Jeremy Toljan saved Stoeger from his first defeat as Dortmund coach when he equalized late.

Freiburg stretched its unbeaten run to eight games.

SCHALKE ON THE UP

Naldo scored on his 337th Bundesliga appearance – a record for a Brazilian player in the league – to help Schalke reclaim second place with a 2-0 win at Stuttgart.

Hamburger SV drew at Leipzig 1-1 in Bernd Hollerbach’s first game as coach, and Augsburg came from behind to draw in Cologne 1-1, ending the bottom side’s three-game winning run.

Visiting Hertha Berlin held Werder Bremen to 0-0 in the late game.

Bayern signs Germany striker Sandro Wagner from Hoffenheim

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich has signed Germany forward Sandro Wagner from Bundesliga rival Hoffenheim.

The club says the 30-year-old Wagner signed a deal through June 2020.

Wagner was born in Munich and spent 11 years with Bayern’s youth sides before making four Bundesliga appearances for the senior side in the 2007-08 season. After spells at Duisburg, Werder Bremen, Kaiserslautern, Hertha Berlin and Darmstadt, he moved last year to Hoffenheim, where he scored 18 goals in 50 competitive games.

Kicker magazine reports Bayern is paying about 12 million euros ($14 million) for the striker, with bonus payments potentially bringing the fee to 16 million euros ($19 million).

Wagner has five goals in seven appearances for Germany.

UEFA World Cup qualifying wrap: Hat tricks for Jovetic, Wagner, Lewandowski

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UEFA World Cup qualifying’s sixth set of matches continued Saturday, with goals pouring into nets around Europe.

A trio of players netted hat tricks, while three road teams scooped up wins in the race for Russia 2018.

[ MORE: Giroud scores outrageous volley ]

Poland 3-1 Romania

Robert Lewandowski scored thrice, twice from the spot, as Poland remains in pole position for an automatic World Cup spot. The Eagles lead Denmark and Montenegro by six points, and next travels to the former.

Montenegro 4-1 Armenia

A day of hat tricks continued in Podgorica, where Stevan Jovetic scored in the 28th, 54th, and 82nd minutes.

Germany 7-0 San Marino

Sandro Wagner is making up for lost time. Hoffenheim’s big 29-year-old center forward nabbed a hat trick to give him three goals in three caps as the Germans ran rout over San Marino. Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi was also among the scorers.

Norway 1-1 Czech Republic

An Alexander Soderlund penalty gave the hosts an equalizer, but Norway knew a win was a must in this home encounter. The Czechs are now four points back of second place Northern Ireland in Group C.

 

Lithuania 1-2 Slovakia

Vladimir Weiss and Marek Hamisk scored for a narrow road win, and Slovakia is within two points of leaders England.

 

Azerbaijan 0-1 Northern Ireland

Milli is a challenge, especially at home, and Northern Ireland needed 90-plus to find a winner. Leeds United’s Stuart Dallas did the trick in the second minute of stoppage time to keep NI in control of its second place destiny.

Kazakhstan 1-3 Denmark

Ajax teenage star Kasper Dolberg scored his first senior goal in stoppage time, and Spurs’ Christian Eriksen also scored as the visitors took all three points.

Scotland 2-2 EnglandRECAP

A pair of Leigh Griffiths’ free kicks gave the Scots a late 2-1 lead, but Harry Kane scored an equalizer to keep England unbeaten in qualifying. England still hosts Slovenia and Slovakia, each of whom are within a win of the Three Lions.

Slovenia 2-0 Malta

Fiorentina veteran Josip Ilicic scored the opener, and 38-year-old Milivoje Novaković closed out the keep Slovenia within sight of England in Group F.