Bayern thrash Stuttgart to maintain top spot in Bundesliga

Munich, Sept. 19, 2019 Philippe Coutinho (R) of Bayern Munich breaks through the defense from Mateo Garcia of Red Star Belgrad during the group B match between FC Bayern Munich of Germany and Red Star Belgrad of Serbia at UEFA Champions League in Munich, Germany, on Sept. 18, 2019. Bayern Munich won 3-0. (Photo by Philippe Ruiz/Xinhua/IANS)

Berlin, Dec 15 (IANS) Serge Gnabry’s hat-trick and a brace from Robert Lewandowski helped Bayern Munich to defend its top spot after cruising 5-0 past Stuttgart in the 16th round in the Bundesliga.

The Bavarians took the reins on the road from the starting whistle as Gnabry posed a lot of danger after coming close in the 10th minute before Stuttgart goalkeeper Florian Muller denied the German international 10 minutes later in a late Tuesday encounter.

Stuttgart tried to hold the pace but had to wait until the 25th minute before unmarked Omar Marmoush squandered a presentable chance with all time and space.

Bayern then turned its dominance into a tangible reward as substitute Leroy Sane assisted Gnabry, who broke the deadlock with a well-placed shot from inside the box into the top right corner in the 40th minute, Xinhua reports. After the restart, Stuttgart came out with its guns blazing and forced Bayern custodian Manuel Neuer into action twice as Wataru Endo and Philipp Forster unleashed promising attempts on target.

It was however the visitors who clinically made it two as Stuttgart couldn’t clear the ball from the area, allowing Gnabry to slot home from very close range in the 53rd minute.

Stuttgart tried to respond but Bayern ruthlessly tripled its lead as Gnabry set up for Lewandowski, who chested the ball down before chipping the ball over hapless Muller with 69 minutes gone.

The Pole remained in the thick of things and reaped his brace only three minutes later after Lewandowski finished off Gnabry’s good build-up work on the right-wing.

To make things worse, Gnabry wasn’t still done with the scoring and wrapped up his hat trick in the 74th minute after tapping home Thomas Muller’s cross.

Lewandowski had even the chance to make it 6-0 but the Pole rattled only the right post from 13 meters in the dying minutes of the game.

With the result, front runners Bayern Munich overwinter on the top spot after having established a nine-point advantage. Meanwhile, Stuttgart stay on the 15th spot and in touching distance to the bottom three.

“We played very well in the second half. Overall, a very good performance. In the next game we want to clinch the last three points before Christmas,” Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann said.

“We started courageously into the second half, but Bayern was ice cold in front of the target. We don’t have to be ashamed. They have an incredible squad,” Stuttgart sporting director Sven Mislintat said.

Elsewhere, Mainz returned to winning ways after beating Hertha Berlin on the goals from Jae-Sung Lee, Alexander Hack, Silvan Widmer and Jean-Paul Boetius.

Bottom side Arminia Bielefeld secured its second win of the season after edging Bochum 2-0 and Cologne came back twice to see off Wolfsburg 3-2.

The following fixtures are scheduled for Wednesday: Borussia Monchengladbach host Eintracht Frankfurt, third placed Bayer Leverkusen clash with in from Hoffenheim, runner up Borusia Dortmund take on bottom side Greuther Furth, Union Berlin encounter Freiburg and Augsburg face Leipzig.

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