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Bayern Munich solidifies stand on top of Bundesliga

Monday, March 03, 2014

BERLIN - Arjen Robben scored a hat-trick as Bayern Munich thrashed fourth-placed Schalke 5-1 yesterday to go 20 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga.

Borussia Dortmund defeated Nuremberg 3-0 to move second above Bayer Leverkusen whose form slump continued with a 1-0 home defeat to Mainz.

Bayern now have 65 points from 23 games after a 15th successive league win, taking their unbeaten record in the league to 48 games including last season.

Pep Guardiola's side scored four goals in the first half hour in making light work of Schalke, who had gone seven league games undefeated but whose confidence was dented by a 6-1 hammering at home by Real Madrid in the Champions League.

"Today it was fun," Robben said.

"It was one of the best first halves I have experienced in my time at Bayern. We played with a high tempo and aggression. They weren't in the game."

Despite the defeat Schalke remains two points behind Leverkusen and four behind Dortmund.

Dortmund bounced back from a 3-0 defeat at Hamburg last weekend thanks to second-half goals from Mats Hummels, Robert Lewandowski and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

"We put ourselves under pressure with the 3-0 defeat in Hamburg. Today you could see the team wanted to make good," coach Juergen Klopp said.

Leverkusen slipped up against Mainz whose winner came from an Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting back heel in the 37th minute, inflicting a fifth successive defeat for coach Sami Hyypia's side in all competitions.

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