Bayern Munich routs Werder Bremen in Bundesliga clash.
BERLIN - Thomas Mueller scored one goal and set up two more as Bayern Munich opened a 14-point lead in the Bundesliga with a comfortable 4-0 win at Werder Bremen on Saturday.
Fine strikes from Mueller and David Alaba in the first half and two goals from Robert Lewandowski in the second secured the visitors' sixth consecutive victory across all competitions and a healthy advantage over second-placed Wolfsburg, which hosts Freiburg on Sunday.
Mueller opened the scoring in the 24th minute with a top-class curled effort inside the far post after Raphael Wolf blocked his initial effort, and Alaba put Bayern in a commanding position with a perfectly struck free kick before the break.
Bremen had a goal ruled out for a handball by Sebastian Proedl, but TV replays showed the Austrian was pulled back by Jerome Boateng and should have had a penalty.
Tempers became frayed after a series of bad challenges in the second half.
Mueller set up Lewandowski to score with a diving header in the 76th and then again in injury time for the Poland striker to complete the rout.
"Individual quality was the difference I'd say," Proedl said. "Bayern played very smartly."
Bayern was without Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben due to injuries, and Xabi Alonso due to an accumulation of yellow cards.
Pepe Reina played in Bayern's goal for the rested Manuel Neuer but had a quiet game, with one good save, while captain Philipp Lahm made a second-half appearance to return from his ankle injury.
"It was nice to be back on the pitch again after such a long layoff," said Lahm, who broke his right ankle in training on Nov. 18.
Elsewhere, Joel Matip scored in the last minute to salvage a 2-2 draw for Schalke at Hertha Berlin.
Eintracht Frankfurt routed promoted Paderborn 4-0, Hoffenheim defeated 10-man Hamburger SV 3-0, and Mainz won 2-0 at Augsburg, which missed the chance to capitalize on Schalke's draw to move fifth.
Dortmund hosted Cologne in the late game.
Japan midfielder Genki Haraguchi's first Bundesliga goal in the 81st minute looked to have secured Hertha a vital win in its fight against relegation, only for Matip to head the equalizer.
Anis Ben-Hatira opened the scoring on the rebound for Hertha in the 21st, celebrating with a Spiderman mask in tribute to a young child fighting cancer.
"It was for my little friend. I gladly took the yellow card for it," said Ben-Hatira, who was booked for the gesture.
The 19-year-old Leroy Sane - who impressed in Schalke's 4-3 defeat of Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday - equalized with a cheeky chip from a difficult angle for his first Bundesliga goal in the 40th.
In Frankfurt, Alexander Meier scored from Marc Stendera's cross in the 27th for his league-leading 19th goal of the season, before returning the favour for Stendera to make it 2-0 in the 42nd.
The game had been held up briefly to allow treatment to referee Guido Winkmann after he was knocked over by Paderborn's Marvin Bakalorz.
Japan midfielder Takashi Inui set up Stefan Aigner in the 55th and Nelson Valdez in the 82nd. It was the Paraguay striker's first Bundesliga goal since leaving Dortmund in 2010.
There was further Japanese involvement in Augsburg, with Shinji Okazaki firing in off the far post in the 32nd for Mainz. South Korean midfielder Koo Ja-cheol wrapped up the visitors' win in the 89th.
Hamburg was down to 10 men from the 20th minute when goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny was sent off for bringing down Sven Schipplock.
Eugen Polanski scored the resultant penalty for Hoffenheim, and made it 2-0 in the 81st, before Sebastian Rudy sealed the win in the 87th.