The Malta Independent 5 December 2016, Monday

Bayern warm up for Juventus with 5-0 rout of Bremen; Moenchengladbach win 3-0

Associated Press Saturday, 12 March 2016, 17:57 Last update: about 10 months ago

Thomas Mueller scored twice as Bayern Munich warmed up for Juventus in the Champions League with a routine 5-0 rout of Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Thiago Alcantara opened the scoring in the ninth minute when he beat his marker to Kingsley Coman's sharp cross.

Coman was again provider for the second in the 31st, beating a defender on the left and crossing for Mueller to convert past Bremen goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald.

Bayern had around 80 percent ball possession as Bremen failed to threaten in a flat first half of football.

Thiago struck the crossbar from distance after the break.

Mario Goetze, playing for the first time since getting injured on international duty on Oct. 8, had two efforts on goal, and went off shortly after his second attempt in the 50th.

Mueller sealed the game with his 19th goal of the season in the 65th, converting the rebound after Wiedwald saved Franck Ribery's volley from 20 meters (yards).

Robert Lewandowski, who came on for Mueller in the 74th, claimed his 24th goal of the campaign in the 86th, and there was still time for Thiago to complete the scoring in the final minute, again set up by former Juventus player Coman.

Bayern, which hosts Juventus on Wednesday after drawing 2-2 in their Champions League round-of-16 first leg, moved eight points clear of Borussia Dortmund, which plays Mainz on Sunday.

Werder Bremen was missing top-scorer Claudio Pizarro to injury, as well as captain Clemens Fritz and midfielder Zlatko Junuzovic after they picked up yellow cards to incur suspensions and be available for later games.

Earlier, Borussia Moenchengladbach defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 as former Croatia coach Niko Kovac got off to a bad start.

Kovac, appointed successor to the fired Armin Veh on Tuesday, could only watch as goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky endured a difficult afternoon.

"We have to take a long breath. That's (a) relegation battle," said Kovac, who is assisted by his brother Robert.

Lars Stindl opened the scoring in the 36th minute, stopping Hradecky's punched clearance of Raffael's free kick with his foot and returning the ball.

Raffael made it 2-0 in the 53rd, shooting into the unguarded net from 35 meters (yards) after another botched clearance from Hradecky.

The Finnish goalkeeper again looked bad in the 79th, when Mahmoud Dahoud beat him at his near post to wrap up the win. Hans Seferovic had just hit the post at the other end.

Frankfurt, now eight games without a win, remained in the relegation playoff spot, level on 24 points with Hoffenheim, which defeated Wolfsburg 1-0 at home.

'Gladbach moved into fourth, three points behind Hertha Berlin.

Andrej Kramaric's third-minute goal was enough for Hoffenheim's third win under new coach Julian Nagelsmann.

Kevin Volland had the chance to make it 2-0 early in the second half but Wolfsburg 'keeper Koen Casteels saved his penalty.

Also Saturday, Stuttgart came from two goals down to draw 3-3 at Ingolstadt, Augsburg finished 2-2 at Darmstadt and Cologne won 2-0 at bottom side Hannover thanks to goals in either half from Leonardo Bittencourt against his ex-club.

With eight games remaining, Hannover was 10 points from safety with little sign of hope under coach Thomas Schaaf.

"Of course we're mega-disappointed," Schaaf said. "I'm just sorry we can't deliver more at the moment."

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