Bundesliga - Dortmund open imposing gap at top

Sun, 17 Apr 18:49:00 2011

Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund cruised towards their first German championship since 2002 as a 3-0 win opened up an eight-point lead at the top with four games left to play.

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First-half goals from Mario Goetze and Poland's Robert Lewandowski made sure of the three points in a one-sided game and Kevin Grosskreutz added another late in the second half.

Rivals Bayer Leverkusen were left stuck in second place on 61 points after slumping to a humiliating 5-1 defeat at Bayern Munich which moved the champions up to third on 55 and kept alive their Champions League hopes.

Dortmund had an trouble-free afternoon even without their injured top striker Lucas Barrios and squandered a bagful of chances before 18-year-old Goetze, already a Germany international, tapped in to give them the lead after 23 minutes.

The hosts kept their foot on the pedal in front of another 80,000 sold-out crowd and were rewarded with a goal from Lewandowski just before the break and should have added several more in the second half as they sliced through the Freiburg defence at will.

Grosskreutz got a third goal when Goetze raced clear and then cut back for him for a simple tap-in in the 78th minute before the players received a standing ovation from their fans at the end.

"This was the perfect ending for the day and this was an outstanding victory," Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said. "My team played a fantastic game."

In Munich, top scorer Mario Gomez hit a first-half hat-trick to lead Bayern to a demolition of Leverkusen and a return to third place, a point ahead of fourth-placed Hanover 96.

Bayern, Germany's biggest club, are desperate to finish third to book a place in the Champions League qualifying round next season when the final will be held at their Allianz Arena.

Gomez's fourth Bundesliga hat-trick of the season took his tally to 22 to make him the leading scorer, two ahead of Freiburg's Papiss Demba Cisse.

Bayern boss Uli Hoeness had demanded an "explosion" against Leverkusen to take off "the straitjacket" his players were wearing under former coach Louis van Gaal and the president got his wish.

The champions got off to a dream start when Franck Ribery whipped in a corner which Leverkusen captain Simon Rolfes headed into his own net after seven minutes.

Germany forward Gomez doubled their lead on 28 minutes chipping the ball in off the post after a terrible backheel from Arturo Vidal, who is reportedly on the Bayern wishlist.

Gomez, who played in a two-pronged attack with Miroslav Klose - a rarity under Van Gaal - added two more late in the half as Bayern compensated for the absence of suspended Arjen Robben.

Leverkusen's Eren Derdiyok pulled one back but Ribery capped a sparkling performance with a fine solo effort in the 75th minute.

"We were ice cold in converting our chances and were very aggressive in the first half," said interim Bayern coach Andries Jonker on his debut after the sacking of Van Gaal last week.

"The boys knew what they had to do and did just that," said the Dutchman, who will take over the Bayern reserves from next season.

Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes, who takes over Bayern at the end of the season, looked on in disbelief, shaking his head at his team's dismal defensive performance in their first league defeat since February 5.

Reuters

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