The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Bayern beats Freiburg 4-0 to stretch lead in Bundesliga; Hamburg loses again, fires coach
BERLIN - Bayern Munich stretched its Bundesliga lead to 16 points with a comfortable 4-0 win over Freiburg on Saturday, while Hamburger SV fired its coach after losing 4-2 at bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig.
Dante headed Bayern into a 19th-minute lead and Xherdan Shaqiri scored with deflected shots in the 34th and 42nd. Claudio Pizarro completed the rout in the 88th as Bayern stretched its league record unbeaten run to 46 games.
"It's always hard when the whole world says you have to win," said Bayern coach Pep Guardiola after his side's 13th consecutive Bundesliga victory.
Guardiola rested several players with an eye on Wednesday's Champions League round-of-16 first leg at Arsenal.
But Shaqiri will miss the game after tearing a muscle at the back of his right thigh in the second half. French winger Franck Ribery was already out after undergoing surgery on a burst blood vessel in his buttock.
Second-place Bayer Leverkusen lost 2-1 at home to Schalke, which was on a four-game winning streak.
Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka won the ball from Lars Bender, lifted it over an incoming defender's challenge and chipped the goalkeeper in the 28th.
Leverkusen equalized in the 66th after Schalke defender Felipe Santana cleared off the line but conceded an own goal from the resulting corner.
The home side was left to rue several missed chances when Klaas Jan Huntelaar headed a free kick inside the far post in the 74th.
Leverkusen was knocked out of the German Cup by second-division Kaiserslautern on Wednesday and next faces Paris Saint-Germain at home in the Champions League on Tuesday.
"We played the better football, I feel for the team," Leverkusen coach Sami Hyypia said. "If we play like this on Tuesday I'll be happy. We showed a lot of character."
Hamburg slipped into full crisis mode after slumping to its seventh consecutive league defeat and fired Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk and his assistant Roel Coumans late Saturday.
"My job is not important right now," Van Marwijk had said after Domi Kumbela scored a hat trick for Braunschweig to move within a point of Hamburg, which is facing the prospect of its first relegation from the Bundesliga.
Also, third-place Borussia Dortmund defeated Eintracht Frankfurt 4-0, Werder Bremen drew 1-1 with Borussia Moenchengladbach, and Hoffenheim beat 10-man Stuttgart 4-1 for the visiting side's sixth consecutive defeat.
Hamburg goalkeeper Rene Adler's two mistakes proved costly for his side in Braunschweig.
Pierre-Michel Lasogga marked his return for the visitors by scoring Hamburg's first goal of the year in the 23rd, with a hopeful header back that looped over the goalie.
Adler spilled a shot from Karim Bellarabi and Kumbela swept the rebound home in the 51st, 10 minutes before he scored again.
Ivo Ilicevic equalized in the 76th, but Adler could only parry a free kick in the 85th, allowing Kumbela to scoop the ball over two defenders.
Bellarabi eluded two Hamburg defenders and crossed for Jan Hochscheidt to seal the result in injury time.
"It was so unnecessary. But if you give away goals like that it makes it very difficult," Van Marwijk said.
Dortmund was playing Frankfurt for the second time in a week after its 1-0 German Cup quarterfinal win on Tuesday.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan dispossessed Frankfurt defender Sebastian Jung and waited before playing the perfect pass between four Frankfurt defenders for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to open the scoring in the 10th.
Aubameyang got his second goal 11 minutes later after a corner, and Robert Lewandowski converted a penalty to make it 3-0 two minutes after the break. It was the Polish striker's first goal against Frankfurt and his 14th of the season.
Milos Jojic scored just seconds after going on for his Bundesliga debut to complete the scoring in the 68th.
Another winter signing, Ludovic Obraniak, salvaged Bremen's hard-earned draw by scoring in the 88th minute against Moenchengladbach.
The visitors had been leading since the sixth, when Assani Lukimya's poor pass out of defence invited Raffael to score.
"It's a little point in the table but hopefully a big one for morale," Bremen coach Robin Dutt said.
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