Morocco's Benatia scores as Bayern Munich go 10 points clear in Bundesliga

AFP , Saturday 13 Dec 2014

Mehdi Benatia
Augsburg's Tobias Werner, right, and Bayern’s Mehdi Benatia from Morocco challenge for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between FC Augsburg and FC Bayern Munich in the SGL Arena in Augsburg, Germany, on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 (Photo: AP)

Bayern Munich underlined their status as Bundesliga champions-in-waiting as Saturday's 4-0 thrashing of Augsburg moved them 10 points clear.

With second-placed Wolfsburg playing Paderborn on Sunday, Bayern seized the chance to extend their lead and remain on course for a third straight title.

After a goalless first-half, Bayern burst into life after the interval as Arjen Robben netted twice while Medhi Benatia and Robert Lewandowski were also on target.

Despite the drubbing, Bayern's Bavarian neighbours Augsburg remain third in the table.

Centre-back Benatia headed his first Bayern goal on 58 minutes, then Robben slotted his ninth in all competitions just two minutes later when he hit the top left-hand corner.

Poland striker Lewandowski claimed their third when he fired home a final pass from captain Bastian Schweinsteiger on 68 minutes.

Robben added the fourth three minutes later as Augsburg's defence capitulated.

Bayern, who started with Thomas Mueller and Mario Goetze on the bench, can further hammer home their superiority later this week when they host Freiburg on Tuesday before travelling to face Mainz on Friday in their last league match of 2014.

Despite qualifying for the Champions League's last 16, Borussia Dortmund dropped back into the relegation places after slumping to a 1-0 defeat at Hertha Berlin.

Dortmund's ninth defeat in 15 league games – the most in Germany's top flight – saw them drop to 16th from 14th having started December at the bottom.

To rub salt into the wounds, Julian Schieber scored the first-half winner against his old club.

Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp swapped attacking midfielder Heinrikh Mkhitaryan for Poland's Jakob Blaszczkowski with 35 minutes gone, but the move backfired.

Blaszczkowski lost possession in midfield, Norway's Per Skjelbred pounced on the loose ball and fed Berlin striker Schieber, who fired home on 40 minutes.

Only Hanover 96's 3-3 draw at Werder Bremen prevented Dortmund dropping to second from bottom.

Spanish striker Joselu scored twice for Hanover to claim four goals in his last three league games.

Having scraped into the Champions League's last 16 with a 1-0 win at Slovenia's Maribor on Wednesday, Schalke 04 slumped to a 2-1 defeat at home to Cologne.

Nigeria striker Anthony Ujah scored his fourth goal in five league games just after the break before midfielder Matthias Lehmann netted a penalty.

Teenage replacement Leroy Sane scored his first goal for Schalke by way of consolation on only the 18-year-old's fourth league appearance as Schalke dropped to sixth.

Hamburg were held to a goalless draw at Freiburg with both teams just above the bottom three.

On Sunday, fourth-placed Bayer Leverkusen host Borussia Moenchengladbach with Lucien Favre's side just one place behind in the league table.

On Friday, Hoffenheim enoyed a 3-2 win at Eintracht Frankfurt to stay seventh and just outside the European places for next season.

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