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Bayern close in on Bundesliga title as Dortmund loses

BERLIN -- Bastian Schweinsteiger scored one goal and set up another as Bayern Munich moved ever closer to the Bundesliga title with a 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

Schweinsteiger crossed for Mario Mandzukic to score with a powerful header in the 44th minute, and secured Bayern's league record 17th win in succession with a perfectly placed free kick in the 52nd.

“It was an important goal, so I'm happy it went in,” the Germany midfielder said.

Stefan Kiessling headed Leverkusen's consolation from Roberto Hilbert's cross in injury time.

Bayern extended its league record unbeaten run to 50 games and moved 23 points clear of Borussia Dortmund with nine games remaining.

Dortmund was beaten 2-1 at home by Borussia Moenchengladbach, meaning Bayern can secure the title at Mainz next week if Dortmund and Schalke, 24 points behind in third, both fail to win.

“I remember we were champions in Mainz a couple of times before. It was funny because they celebrated with us,” Schweinsteiger said. “But it's all the same when we do it.”

Bayern made a lackluster start in its first game since Uli Hoeness stepped down as president after being convicted of tax evasion. He was sentenced to 3 and a half years in prison on Thursday.

Son Heung-min should have scored for Leverkusen in the 11th, when he had only Manuel Neuer to beat after being played in by Kiessling, but the South Korean shot wide of the far post.

“I wanted to place it in the corner,” Son said. “We did everything we could.”

Neuer also made a good save to deny Simon Rolfes from distance in the 29th.

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Bayern's Rafinha, of Brazil, left, is fouled by Leverkusen's Emir Spahic, of Bosnia, in a challenge for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and Bayer 04 Leverkusen in Munich, southern Germany on Saturday, March 15. (AP)

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