Ribery strikes late as Bayern go seven clear
Franck Ribery came off the bench to seal Bayern Munich’s 3-0 win at Cologne on Saturday, extending their Bundesliga lead to seven points.
Bayern warmed up for Tuesday’s Champions League last 16 second leg at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium — holding a 5-1 first-leg lead — with their fourth big win in five games.
Spain internationals Javi Martinez and Juan Bernat gave Bayern a comfortable two-goal lead before Ribery netted a late third on 90 minutes.
The result allowed Bayern to extend their lead over second-placed RB Leipzig, who drew 2-2 at Augsburg on Friday. Martinez headed home Arturo Vidal’s cross after Bayern worked a short-corner routine on 25 minutes.
Bayern doubled their lead just after the break when Thomas Mueller spotted Bernat unmarked to shoot home with the help of a deflection on 48 minutes. Bernat then turned provider just before the final whistle when his cross was driven home by Ribery.
Elsewhere, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted twice as Borussia Dortmund warmed-up for Wednesday’s Champions League last 16 return leg at home to Benfica with a 6-2 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen at Signal Iduna Park.
Aubameyang’s brace leaves him with 21 league goals in as many games, two ahead of Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski.
Dortmund wasted no time in going after a third straight win since losing 1-0 at Benfica as Ousmane Dembele gave Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno no chance with a shot after just six minutes. Aubameyang was then left unmarked to head home at the far post on 26 minutes.
Leverkusen pulled a goal back when Kevin Volland held off Dortmund defender Soktratis Papastathopoulos and drilled his shot inside the near post just after the break. Dembele’s cross was headed home by Aubameyang, again at the far post, to put Dortmund 3-1 up on 69 minutes.
Brazilian defender Wendell curled a free-kick into the Dortmund goal on 74 minutes before Borussia’s US international teenager Christian Pulisic made it 4-2 on 77 minutes.
It turned into a rout when Andre Schuerrle, on for Aubameyang, netted a penalty on 85 minutes and then Portugal’s Raphael Guerreiro smashed home two minutes into time added on as Dortmund consolidated third spot.
Fourth-placed Hoffenheim enjoyed a 5-2 thrashing of second-from-bottom Ingolstadt as Hungary striker Adam Szalai netted twice.
Bottom side Darmstadt lost 2-0 at Werder Bremen with Germany striker Max Kruse also scoring twice in the second-half. Darmstadt coach Torsten Frings had a miserable return to Bremen, who sacked him as assistant trainer in September.
Wolfsburg’s new head coach Andries Jonker, with Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg as his assistant, picked up a point on debut with a 1-1 draw at Mainz. Mario Gomez’s goal for Wolfsburg was cancelled out by a first-half equaliser from Mainz’s Colombia international Jhon Cordoba.