Bundesliga: Bayern Munich closes in on title after Hoffenheim win
BERLIN (AP) — Borussia Dortmund's new-found inspiration led to a 3-0 win over Paderborn while Bayern Munich closed in on the Bundesliga title with a 2-0 win at Hoffenheim on Saturday.
It was Dortmund's first game since Juergen Klopp announced on Thursday his end-of-season departure after seven years at the club.
"We wanted to give the coach a great send-off," Dortmund defender Marcel Schmelzer said.
Sebastian Rode's 38th-minute strike and an own goal from Andreas Beck in injury time were enough for Bayern to move another step to claiming the title. Bayern could wrap it up next weekend if Wolfsburg loses to Schalke on Sunday.
Dortmund's win moved the side five points off Schalke in the last Europa League qualification spot, one week after being just six points clear of the relegation zone.
"We shouldn't get carried away. It would have been very different if we'd lost today — something that wasn't unthinkable — and we have an important game against Eintracht Frankfurt next week," Klopp said. "I said before we'll try and squeeze as much out of the season as possible."
Also, Bayer Leverkusen routed Hannover 4-0 to move to third, Mainz won 3-2 at Freiburg, and Hertha Berlin drew 0-0 with visiting Cologne.
Raul Bobadilla struck in the 73rd minute for Augsburg to beat struggling Stuttgart 2-1 in the late game and move provisionally fifth, above Schalke. Augsburg goalkeeper Marwin Hitz pulled off great saves as the visitors failed to climb out of the relegation zone.
"It doesn't matter if you play well or not if you've nothing to show for it in the end," said Daniel Ginczek, who had equalized for Stuttgart.
Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wasted the best chance of a labored first half when Paderborn goalkeeper Lukas Kruse saved his attempted chip, but turned provider for Henrikh Mkhitaryan to break the deadlock just after halftime, and then lifted the ball over Kruse to score seven minutes later.
Shinji Kagawa showed his class by controlling Mkhitaryan's cross with his chest, leaving a defender flailing, and finishing coolly near the end for his third goal of the season.
"It's not over yet," said Paderborn coach Andre Breitenreiter, whose side remains in the relegation playoff place.
The buildup to Bayern's game was dominated by the unexpected resignation of longtime team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt following the side's Champions League quarterfinal first-leg defeat, 3-1 at Porto.
With several stars out injured, coach Pep Guardiola nevertheless opted to start Xabi Alonso, Jerome Boateng, and Thiago Alcantara on the bench in preparation for Tuesday's second leg in Munich.
Hoffenheim forward Anthony Modeste should have scored after a Dante mistake in the 30th, only to be denied by Manuel Neuer's trailing leg.
Rode ended the stalemate when he took the ball away from a defender with his first touch and curled inside the far post with his next.
Rode was lucky not to concede a penalty minutes later, with TV replays showing he fouled Eugen Polanski in the area.
Bayern dominated the second half. Robert Lewandowski skimmed the crossbar and Thiago was denied by Oliver Baumann, who also saved from Thomas Mueller on the rebound.
It was Mueller who forced Beck to convert into his own net.
Leverkusen took advantage of Borussia Moenchengladbach's scoreless draw on Friday to go ahead on goal difference
Omer Toprak and Julian Brandt made it 2-0 for the home side by halftime. Soon after, Kyriakos Papadopoulos hammered the ball home, and Stefan Kiessling claimed No. 4, albeit from an offside position.
Hannover's 13th game without a win increases the pressure on coach Tayfun Korkut with the side just two points above Paderborn.
Japan striker Shinji Okazaki was the hero in Freiburg, getting Mainz off the mark in the 39th minute and making it 2-0 after a goalmouth scramble in the 45th.
Admir Mehmedi pulled one back with a fierce shot to the top corner in the 81st, only for Yunus Malli to score what proved the winner three minutes later. Jonathan Schmid claimed Freiburg's consolation in injury time.
"The best team didn't win. But that's part of it," said Freiburg coach Christian Streich, whose side is ahead of Hannover only on goal difference.