Bayern Munich secure top spot for winter break with Hamburg win

Reuters, Saturday 14 Dec 2013

Bayern Munich
Bayern's Mario Mandzukic of Croatia, left, Hamburg's Pierre-Michel Lasogga, center, and Bayern's Diego Contento challenge for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Hamburger SV in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 (Photo: AP)

Leaders Bayern Munich made sure they will go into the winter break top of the with a 3-1 win over Hamburg SV to go seven points clear in the Bundesliga and stretch their unbeaten run in the league to a staggering 41 games.

Second-placed Bayer Leverkusen, in action on Sunday, can cut it back to four points with one game left in the Bundesliga before a break until January.

With Franck Ribery and David Alaba on the bench and Arjen Robben injured, Bayern were initially made to work hard against battling Hamburg, eager to redeem themselves for last season's 9-2 demolition by Bayern.

Mario Mandzukic struck at the right time when he nodded in after 42 minutes. Mario Goetze's superb control and volley seven minutes after the restart gave them a two-goal cushion before Xherdan Shaqiri killed off the game in stoppage time.

Hamburg had briefly cut the deficit in the 87th minute through Pierre-Michel Lasogga.

Borussia Dortmund battled back from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Hoffenheim but dropped further points after having won one of their last five games to stay in third place.

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