Bayern Munich stretch Bundesliga lead
By Ciaran Fahey ,AP
February 17, 2014, 12:02 am TWN
BERLIN -- Bayern Munich stretched its Bundesliga lead to 16 points with a comfortable 4-0 win over Freiburg on Saturday, while Hamburger SV fired its coach after losing 4-2 at bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig.
Dante headed Bayern into a 19th-minute lead and Xherdan Shaqiri scored with deflected shots in the 34th and 42nd. Claudio Pizarro completed the rout in the 88th as Bayern stretched its league record unbeaten run to 46 games.
“It's always hard when the whole world says you have to win,” said Bayern coach Pep Guardiola after his side's 13th consecutive Bundesliga victory.
Guardiola rested several players with an eye on Wednesday's Champions League round-of-16 first leg at Arsenal.
But Shaqiri will miss the game after tearing a muscle at the back of his right thigh in the second half. French winger Franck Ribery was already out after undergoing surgery on a burst blood vessel in his buttock.
Second-place Bayer Leverkusen lost 2-1 at home to Schalke, which was on a four-game winning streak.
Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka won the ball from Lars Bender, lifted it over an incoming defender's challenge and chipped the goalkeeper in the 28th.
Leverkusen equalized in the 66th after Schalke defender Felipe Santana cleared off the line but conceded an own goal from the resulting corner.
The home side was left to rue several missed chances when Klaas Jan Huntelaar headed a free kick inside the far post in the 74th.
Leverkusen was knocked out of the German Cup by second-division Kaiserslautern on Wednesday and next faces Paris Saint-Germain at home in the Champions League on Tuesday.
“We played the better football, I feel for the team,” Leverkusen coach Sami Hyypia said. “If we play like this on Tuesday I'll be happy. We showed a lot of character.”
Hamburg slipped into full crisis mode after slumping to its seventh consecutive league defeat and fired Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk and his assistant Roel Coumans late Saturday.