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Bayern Power Past Schalke, Dortmund Wins, Leverkusen Slump 

FC Bayern’s Toni Kroos controls the ball as FCB beats FC Schalke 4-0 — photo: dpa

Munich (MunichNOW News / dpa) - Arjen Robben scored a hat-trick as Bayern Munich thrashed fourth-placed Schalke 5-1 Saturday 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.

David Alaba gave Bayern a third-minute lead with a deflected free-kick, and Robben doubled the tally with a neat left-footed chip in the 15th.

Schalke were facing another heavy defeat when Mario Mandzukic rose to head an Alaba cross into the net in the 24th minute,

Borussia Dortmund - 1. FC Nürnberg — photo: dpa

and coach Jens Keller’s side looked shell-shocked when Robben left-footed home a fourth three minutes later.

Bayern had chances for two or three more goals but Schalke ended the half forcing Manuel Neuer in the Bayern goal to save from Joel Matip and Benedikt Hoewedes.

Brazilian defender Rafinha turned a corner into his own net midway through the second half to give Schalke a goal but Robben completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot 12 minutes from time.

The penalty was awarded when Kyriakos Papadopoulos shoved Mandzukic in the area, earning the Greek defender a red card after the challenge was interpreted by the referee as a professional foul.

“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. We overrun them.”

Bayer Leverkusen - 1.FSV Mainz 05 — photo: dpa

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.

Central defender Hummels mopped up from close range six minutes after the break after Nuremberg keeper Raphael Schaefer parried a Lewandowski header from a free-kick.

Poland striker Lewandowski then had time to pick his spot from a pass by Mkhitaryan midway through the second half.

Armenia midfielder Mkhitaryan completed the scoring with seven minutes remaining when he stretched to steer the ball home from a pass by Jonas Hofmann.

“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.

“My lads tried to fight but the conviction, the lightness was missing,” he said.

Hamburg stay in trouble in third last after Zlatko Junuzovic in the 19th minute settled the 100th northern derby for Bremen.

Borussia Moenchengladbach went in front at Eintracht Braunschweig thanks to an own goal from Daniel Davari in the 25th minute.

But Gladbach keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen gifted the home side a point when he failed to control a back pass and turned the ball into his own goal in the 52nd minute.

Augsburg and Hanover finished 1-1 with the home side’s Ragnar Klavan heading a 56th-minute equalizer after Mame Biram Diouf netted in the first half for the visitors.

On Friday, Hertha Berlin were held to a goalless draw by second-last Freiburg.

They’re just having so much fun playing such good football… Photo: DPA

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