Bayern march, Bremen upset Schalke in Bundesliga
Berlin: Bayern Munich reaped their eighth consecutive win in the football league after beating Mainz 2-0 meanwhile Zlatko Junuzovic's 2-1 winner helped Bremen turn the tides against Schalke in the 21st round of the Bundesliga.
The "Bavarians" tightened their spot atop the standings after snatching the 17th victory of the season as first-half goals from Franck Ribery and James edged Mainz 2-0 on Saturday, reports Xinhua news agency.
Mainz grabbed a bright start on home soil and staged an offensively minded performance in the opening period whereas Bayern lurked for their chances and let the ball do the work.
As the match progressed, Mainz came to their first-goal chance but Alexandru Maxim failed to make the most of a counter attack with 20 minutes played.
Bayern increased the pressure but Mainz were still able to work out fast breaks.
The German record champions shifted up a gear and broke the deadlock with 33 minutes into the game when Franck Ribery volleyed home Yoshinori Muto's clearance by header from the edge of the box.
Jupp Heynckes' men gained momentum and doubled the lead moments later as James controlled Corentin Tolisso's cross with the chest to unleash a hammer from seven meters into the top right corner in the 44th minute.
After the restart, Bayern continued on the front foot but the runaway Bundesliga leaders lacked in accuracy to triple the lead as Tolisso, Ribery and James squandered promising chances.
Bayern retracted with the two-goal lead and allowed the hosts to produce opportunities.
However, Mainz were not able to pull one back as Robin Quaison, Yoshinori Muto and Abdou Diallo failed to overcome Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich.
With the result, Bayern increase their advantage atop the table to 18 points while Mainz suffered their second loss in row to drop to the 16th place, which is a relegation play off spot.
Struggling Werder Bremen shocked top-four team Schalke with a late comeback win in the dying minutes of the game.
The "Royal Blues" controlled the proceedings on the pitch but lacked in penetration against Bremen's well-positioned bulwark.
Nevertheless, Schalke opened the scoring with 21 minutes into the game as Bremen goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka fumbled Yevhen Konoplyanka's shot into the goal.
Schalke suffered a setback after the restart as Matija Nastasic booked his second yellow card to receive his marching orders in the 78th minute.
Things went from bad to worse as the "Green-Whites" got rewarded for their resilient performance in 79th minute when Max Kruse benefitted on a rebound following a free kick to level the scores.
Werder Bremen capitalized on their superior number and grabbed the 2-1 victory in the dying minutes of the game as Zlatko Junuzovic poked home the winner from very close range.
With the win, Bremen climbed out of the bottom three and jumped onto the 15th place meanwhile Schalke slipped from the 3rd to the 4th position.