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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday, February 17, 2013
Sports

Bundes Liga

Bayern warm up well

Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben (2nd from R) celebrates his goal with teammates during their Bundesliga clash against Wolfsburg in Wolfsburg on Friday.Photo: AFP

Bayern Munich went 18 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga on Friday with a 2-0 victory at VfL Wolfsburg as they move ever closer to the German title.

With Tuesday's trip to Arsenal looming in the Champions League last-16, first-leg tie, Bayern did enough to see off 12th-placed Wolfsburg without picking up injuries.

It was Munich's 18th win from 22 matches and with second-placed Borussia Dortmund hosting Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, Bayern took the chance to further extend their massive lead.

Mario Mandzukic again proved why Germany's Mario Gomez must be content with a place on Bayern's bench as the Croat gave Munich a first-half lead to claim his sixth goal in four Bundesliga games, taking his tally in all matches to 17 for the season.

Gomez and Arjen Robben, who has also been relegated to the bench recently, came on for the last 10 minutes and the Dutch star hit his first league goal of the season to double Bayern's lead in stoppage time.

The win was Munich's 10th away victory in 11 league matches this season and their fifth consecutive clean sheet away from home in the Bundesliga.

Jupp Heynckes, who will step down as coach at season's end to be replaced by Pep Guardiola, looks set to end Bayern's three-year wait for silverware in May with at least the Bundesliga shield.

Having conceded just seven goals in 22 games all season, Bayern have leaked just one of those away from home -- in the 1-1 draw at Nuremberg last November.

If they keep winning, Bayern can be crowned champions as early as mid-April and are on course to break their own record of 30 matches, set in the 1972/73 season, for the earliest confirmed league title victory.

Despite their current rich-vein of form, this was a below-key performance from Bayern, who were lacking Spain's Javi Martinez in the defensive midfield.

His replacement, Brazil's Luiz Gustavo did not provide the same fluid service alongside Germany star Bastian Schweinsteiger as Bayern are used to, while France wing Franck Ribery had a quiet night on the left flank.

The opener came on 36 minutes as Toni Kroos' free-kick clattered the post, Schweinsteiger won the battle for the ball and his header was gratefully drilled home by Mandzukic for his 15th goal to make him the league's top scorer.

Robben seized his chance to remind Heynckes of what he can do as he collected Thomas Mueller's decent pass and buried his shot past Wolfsburg goalkeeper Diego Benaglio just before the final whistle.

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