Bayern beats Stuttgart, takes Bundesliga lead from Dortmund
Bayern Munich held on to return to the top of the Bundesliga with a 2-1 win at Stuttgart, which dropped into the relegation zone on Saturday.
Matthijs de Ligt and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored for Bayern to move back ahead of Borussia Dortmund on goal difference. Dortmund has clawed back a nine-point deficit before the winter break by winning every game since to reinvigorate the title race.
Union Berlin remained third, five points behind the big two, by drawing with visiting Cologne 0-0.
Bayern was forced to defend late on when Juan José Perea pulled one back in the 88th, but Tanguy Coulibaly missed Stuttgart’s best chance to equalize in injury time.
De Ligt proved the difference between the sides in the first half, producing a goal-line clearance to deny Konstantinos Mavropanos, then breaking the deadlock with a speculative effort from distance in the 40th.
Stuttgart ’keeper Fabian Bredlow should have stopped the Dutch defender’s shot, but he had already shown his prowess with two big saves to deny Leon Goretzka. Silas Katompa Mvumpa twice went close for Stuttgart.
The game was briefly interrupted after the break when traveling Bayern fans produced a huge pyrotechnic display in their corner of the stadium. Alphonso Davies was about to take a throw-in for Bayern when he flinched because of a loud bang. Referee Christian Dingert beckoned the players away from the red flares while they waited for the situation to calm.
Both sets of fans set off flares for the remainder of the game, though they didn't impact the game.
Choupo-Moting scored what proved to be the winner in the 62nd, finishing off a fine move involving Thomas Müller and Jamal Musiala.
Bayern next hosts Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday for the second leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie. Bayern leads 1-0 from the first leg.
SCHALKE REVIVAL CONTINUES
Marius Bülter scored late for Schalke to win at Bochum 2-0 and leave the bottom of the standings.
Bülter sealed the visitors’ win in the 79th minute following an own goal from Bochum goalkeeper Manuel Riemann in the 45th.
Riemann bundled the ball into his own net as he attempted to scoop it out of danger in a mix up involving his own defender Erhan Masovic. Masovic opted not to clear the ball and left it for the goalkeeper, with the outcome unfortunate for Bochum.
Schalke’s second consecutive win in a six-game unbeaten run dragged the Gelsenkirchen-based club above Bochum on goal difference.
Both teams are among four including Hoffenheim and Stuttgart on 19 points, while Hertha Berlin has 20 before its visit to Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.
Leandro Barreiro’s first-half goal was enough for Mainz to beat Hoffenheim 1-0 and deal American coach Pellegrino Matarazzo his fourth defeat from four games since taking over.
Augsburg defeated Werder Bremen 2-1, and there was a scoreless draw between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Freiburg.
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Ciarán Fahey, The Associated Press