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Robert Lewandowski broke Ingolstadt's resistance as Bayern Munich won 2-0 to go provisionally eight points clear in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

By AP NEWS
December 12, 2015

BERLIN (AP) — Robert Lewandowski broke Ingolstadt's resistance as Bayern Munich won 2-0 to go provisionally eight points clear in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Ingolstadt, which frustrated the home side with tenacious tackling and constant pressure, was left to rue missed chances when Lewandowski scored in the 65th minute, and Bayern captain Philipp Lahm wrapped up the result 10 minutes later.

"Unfortunately the only thing we won today was respect," Ingolstadt coach Ralph Hasenhuettl said as Bayern ensured it will be leading at the halfway stage of the season for the fifth consecutive year.

On 17 of the 20 previous occasions Bayern achieved the feat, the club finished as champion.

Borussia Dortmund can reduce the gap to five points with a home win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.

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Elsewhere, Hertha Berlin won 4-0 at Darmstadt to move to third, ahead of Borussia Moenchengladbach, which lost 5-0 at Bayer Leverkusen for its first league defeat in 11 games under coach Andre Schubert.

"It's hard. A very big defeat. We didn't play as we imagined we would. We played a good series, but you could see that it was costing a lot of energy," said Schubert, who pointed to the absence of in-form United States international Fabian Johnson as a factor.

Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez scored a hat trick in Leverkusen's rout, while Stefan Kiessling had a hand in the opening four goals.

The former Germany international opened the scoring with a diving header to Karim Bellarabi's cross in the first half, and set up Hernandez, who danced past Andreas Christensen and slotted inside the left post an hour in, two minutes before Kiessling claimed his second with a powerful header to Hakan Calhanoglu's corner.

Kiessling set up Hernandez to score with a curling shot inside the right post in the 75th, a minute before Bellarabi crossed for Hernandez to become the first Mexican to score a hat trick in the Bundesliga.

Wolfsburg salvaged a 1-1 draw at home with Hamburger SV, Werder Bremen drew 1-1 with visiting Cologne, and Hoffenheim defeated Hannover 1-0 to move off the bottom thanks to Jonathan Schmid's first-half header.

"We made it very difficult for ourselves at the start and then scored out of the blue," Huub Stevens said after his first victory as Hoffenheim coach.

Bayern was missing Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, David Alaba, Mario Goetze, Douglas Costa, Medhi Benatia and Juan Bernat through injury but could still send out a side the envy of most in Germany.

Ingolstadt had no household names, yet created the game's best chances before Lewandowski broke the deadlock. Manuel Neuer denied Stefan Lex in a one-on-one just before halftime, then again before the hour mark. It was the Bayern 'keeper's fourth save of the game, more than he made in any other half in the league this season.

But Jerome Boateng's long ball provided the key for Lewandowski to score his 15th goal of the season. He took the ball past Ingolstadt 'keeper Ramazan Oezcan and slotted in from a closing angle.

Lahm then swept the ball inside the far post after Thomas Mueller did well to set him up.

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"A huge compliment to my team but also to Ralph and Ingolstadt for this courageous game. We played against the best team that we've faced this season," said Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, whose side fell to its first league defeat of the season last weekend at Moenchengladbach. "We had problems with the buildup, even with (substitute) Thiago (Alcantara). In the end our quality pulled through."

Hertha's impressive season continued at promoted Darmstadt.

Vedad Ibisevic put the visitors ahead early, a Marvin Plattenhardt free kick made it 2-0 by halftime, Ibisevic claimed his second soon after the interval, and Salomon Kalou completed the scoring.

Wolfsburg pushed hard to cancel Nicolai Mueller's early opener for Hamburg and deservedly equalized in the second half when Vieirinha crossed for Maximilian Arnold to poke home from close range.

Jannik Vestergaard headed Bremen into a fourth-minute lead against Cologne, which had to wait till the 79th for Dusan Svento's equalizer.

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