Bayern, Hamburg triumph in Bundesliga

Berlin, Jan 28 (IANS) Bayern Munich increased the points gap atop the standings owing to their 2-0 win over Stuttgart at the Southern derby while Hamburg came from behind to seal a 3-2 victory against Bremen in the Northern derby to close 19th round of German football league, Bundesliga.

Front-runners Bayern Munich tightened first position as they increased their point cushion to 11 points thanks to goals by Mario Mandzukic and Thomas Mueller at Stuttgart, reports Xinhua.

The German record champions nearly broke the deadlock with 12 minutes played as Dante pulled his header just wide. The hosts also had the opportunity to open the scoring but Shinji Okazaki failed to finish a counter attack properly in the 27th minute. Stuttgart's Martin Harnik approached Bayern Munich's net dangerously when his shot rattled the goal from a sharp angle.

However, it were the league leaders that broke the deadlock five minutes into the second half as Mario Mandzukic intercepted Christian Molinaro's backpass to beat Stuttgart's goalkeeper Sven Ulreich from close distance.

The Bavarians were not done with the scoring as Thomas Mueller found Mandzukic's cross to seal the deal in the 72nd minute. Stuttgart finished the encounter with 10-men as Martin Harnik was sent off for his second bookable offence.

Stuttgart plumped to 11th place with 25 points when Bayern wrapped up their 15th win to remain in first position with 48 points.

In the Northern derby, Hamburg defeated nine-men Werder Bremen 3-2 following a comeback. Bremen's Assani Lukimya gave his side the lead with only nine minutes on the clock when he headed home a long cross inside the penalty area.

Hamburg responded with the equaliser in the 22nd minute as Heung Ming Son dribbled his way into the box to beat Bremen's goalkeeper Sebastian Mielitz, who seemed surprised by Son's precision.

After the break Hamburg turned things around when Dennis Aogos had set up into the path of Artjoms Rudnevs, who had no problems to slot home from goal area.

Bremen were only able to reduce the lead by Hamburg to 2-3 as Sokratis Pastathopoulos effort found the back of the net following an assist by Theo Gebre Selassie in the 54th minute.

Bremen had to finish the match with nine-men as Clemens Fritz and Marko Arnautovic were sent off due their second yellow card.

Hamburg stay in ninth with 28 points meanwhile Bremen remain in 12th position with 22 points.

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