The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Bayern beats Hamburg 3-1 to claim Bundesliga 'autumn champion' title, Dortmund held to draw
BERLIN - Unbeaten Bayern Munich defeated visiting Hamburger SV 3-1 for the Bundesliga's unofficial title of "autumn champion" on Saturday, while Borussia Dortmund could only draw 2-2 at Hoffenheim.
Goals from Mario Mandzukic in the 42nd minute and Mario Goetze 10 minutes later put Bayern in a comfortable position before Hamburg striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga scored with three minutes remaining.
Xherdan Shaqiri scored in injury time to ensure Bayern won its 950th Bundesliga game and its last of the year. The side will next appear in the Club World Club semifinals in Morocco.
Dortmund came from two goals down at Hoffenheim, but missed a host of chances as it fell 12 points off the pace.
Also, Hannover came from three goals down to draw 3-3 with Nuremberg, Augsburg defeated Eintracht Braunschweig 4-1 and Borussia Moenchengladbach's six-game winning streak came to an end in a 0-0 draw at Mainz.
"We can live with it," Moenchengladbach coach Lucien Favre said.
Wolfsburg defeated Stuttgart 3-1 at home in the late match, the latest Bundesliga game to feature a goal-line incident.
With the game still scoreless, Stuttgart's Timo Werner was denied a goal when Robin Knoche cleared off the line. TV replays appeared to show the ball crossing the line but, despite Stuttgart's furious protests, it wasn't given.
Wolfsburg went 2-0 up through free kicks from Ricardo Rodriguez and Diego in the 38th and 53rd respectively, four minutes before Werner pulled one back with a powerful volley.
Ivan Perisic effectively dashed Stuttgart's hopes in the 78th when he scored at the second attempt after Ulreich saved his first effort.
Bayern is the first Bundesliga side to rack up 44 points from its first 16 games, while its unbeaten run of 41 games is a league record.
With his eye on the upcoming trip to Morocco, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola opted to leave Franck Ribery and David Alaba on the substitutes' bench.
Hamburg, which had conceded 20 goals in its previous three league visits to Munich, made the better start before Bayern gradually assumed control.
Toni Kroos unlocked the Hamburg defence with a brilliant ball over the top for Rafinha to cross for Mandzukic, who scored with a helpful shove on Jonathan Tah.
There was no disputing the quality of Goetze's fourth league goal of the season. The Germany midfielder controlled Thiago Alcantara's pass with his first touch on the volley, then swiveled to dispatch the ball inside the left post with his next.
Lasogga's fine strike under the crossbar injected some interest in the closing minutes, before Shaqiri held off a defender and fired inside the near post to remove any doubt.
"Now we fly to Morocco to win the last tournament of the year," said Guardiola, who has made the most successful start as a coach in the Bundesliga.
Dortmund had a goal ruled out early on for offside in Sinsheim, where Sven Schipplock chipped Dortmund goalkeeper Mitch Langerak to celebrate his Hoffenheim contract extension with the opening goal in the 18th. Roberto Firmino played the final pass in a well-worked counterattack.
Hoffenheim was more efficient and Kevin Volland made it 2-0 in the 37th.
A mistake from Hoffenheim goalkeeper Jens Grahl, when he dropped a simple corner and Jannik Vestergaard failed to clear, allowed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to reply for Dortmund in the 44th.
Lukasz Piszczek equalized in the 67th. Henrikh Mkhitaryan should have scored minutes later, and Grahl deflected Lewandowski's effort onto the post, before Volland missed a great chance to win it at the other end.
"In the end a win wouldn't have been undeserved," Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said. "But we could also have lost."
Nuremberg looked set for its first win in the Bundesliga this season when Adam Hlousek scored with a deflected shot in the 30th, Josip Drmic rounded the goalkeeper in the 38th, and Per Nilsson scored with a header three minutes later.
But Leonardo Bittencourt pulled one back on the hour, and Mame Biram Diouf scored twice with three minutes remaining as Nuremberg's Bundesliga record 16-game run without a win continued.
Nuremberg's players were particularly aggrieved by Diouf's first goal, which TV replays showed was offside.
"The referee decided the game. I can't put it into words," Nuremberg goalkeeper Raphael Schaefer said. "You can't make such a mistake. The referee brought Hannover back into the game with this wrong call."
Braunschweig remains rooted to the bottom after the promoted side's 12th defeat of the season.
"Our fans' patience is now depleted. We have to prepare for stormy times," Braunschweig coach Torsten Lieberknecht said.
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