Ruthless Bayern march on
A review of the weekend's action in the German Bundesliga.
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Bayern Munich took another step towards an ever-more inevitable Bundesliga title as they routed Hannover 4-0 to open up a 19-point cushion at the top.
Thomas Muller scored twice with Thiago Alcantara and Mario Mandzukic also on target in yet another comfortable victory for Pep Guardiola's men.
Hannover started well and created plenty of chances to score, but Bayern showed a sublime level of efficiency to take maximum points for the 20th time in 22 matches, exceeding 60 goals for the season in the process.
Alexander Meier hit the woodwork twice but Eintracht Frankfurt failed to get the better of 10-man Werder Bremen, having to settle for a 0-0 draw at the Waldstadion.
Frankfurt dominated the game, showing no signs of tiredness after Thursday night's 2-2 draw at Porto in the Europa League.
Meier hit the post with a free-kick in the first half before heading onto the upright in the 88th minute as Bremen held out, despite playing nearly an hour with 10 men after Felix Kroos was dismissed.
Mirko Slomka celebrated an ideal start to life as coach of Hamburg with a 3-0 Bundesliga win over Borussia Dortmund.
Petr Jiracek, Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Hakan Calhanoglu ended a run of eight successive defeats in all competitions before Slomka replaced Bert van Marwijk this week.
Dortmund showed little resistance at the HSV-Arena as Slomka - in charge for just five days - dramatically altered the mental state of his relegation-troubled players.
Elsewhere at the bottom, Nurnberg continued their climb away from danger with a 2-1 win over bottom club Eintracht Braunschweig.
Rafael Schafer saved two penalties as the hosts came from behind to win with 10 men, missing a spot-kick of their own in a dramatic battle at the Frankenstadion.
Per Nilsson was given his marching orders minutes before Dominik Kumbela put Braunschweig ahead.
Kumbela was then denied a second from the spot by Schafer before two goals in as many minutes at the start of the second half from Hiroshi Kiyotake and Tomas Pekhart turned things around.
Wolfsburg boosted their chances of qualifying for the Champions League next season with a 3-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen, who end a dismal week on a low note.
Bas Dost gave the Wolves the lead, but Sidney Sam levelled for Leverkusen on the stroke of half-time.
However, the hosts were not to be denied and Luiz Gustavo and Ricardo Rodriguez struck to take Wolfsburg to within two points of fourth-placed Schalke.
They are also now only four points adrift of Leverkusen, who cling on to second place after Borussia Dortmund's defeat to Hamburg.
For Leverkusen, this defeat caps a miserable 10 days after losing in the DFB-Pokal to Kaiserslautern, 2-1 to Schalke in the Bundesliga and 4-0 to Paris St Germain in the Champions League.
Stuttgart slipped closer to the relegation zone after losing a sixth game in a row, Hertha Berlin winning 2-1 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Levan Kobiashvili gave Jos Luhukay's men the lead in the fifth minute before Arthur Boka levelled on the stroke of half-time.
Sandro Wagner clinched a 2-1 victory for the capital club in the 87th minute before picking up a red card, the only blot on the day for Hertha in Baden-Wurttemberg.
Freiburg threw away a 2-1 lead with just over 10 minutes to go to lose 4-2 at home to Augsburg and see their relegation worries deepen.
Tobias Werner gave Augsburg the lead early on, but Jonathan Schmid and Admir Mehmedi turned things around to put Christian Streich's men on course for a much-needed win.
They failed to go the distance, though, with Paul Verhaegh, Halil Altintop and Andre Hahn scoring late on to earn Augsburg all three points and take them to within a point of the top six.
Hoffenheim recovered from two goals down to leave Borussia Monchengladbach still waiting for their first win of 2014 after a 2-2 draw at the Borussia Park Stadion.
The Foals led 2-0 at half-time with goals from Patrick Herrmann and Tony Jantschke. However, they were denied victory by efforts from Roberto Firmino and Sejad Salihovic (penalty).
Schalke failed to win for the first time in 2014 as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Mainz on Friday night.
The Royal Blues, who face Real Madrid in the Champions League next week and perhaps were already thinking ahead to that match, could count themselves fortunate to have come away without being beaten by a strong Mainz side.
The visitors created the better chances, but failed to beat an inspired Ralf Fahrmann.