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Bayern win again to cut Dortmund's lead

Bayern win again to cut Dortmund's lead
Soccer Football - Bundesliga - TSG 1899 Hoffenheim v Bayern Munich - PreZero Arena, Sinsheim, Germany - January 18, 2019 Bayern Munich's Leon Goretzka celebrates scoring their second goal with Thomas Mueller REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski   -   Copyright  RALPH ORLOWSKI(Reuters)
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BERLIN (Reuters) – Leon Goretzka scored twice to give champions Bayern Munich a 3-1 victory at Hoffenheim on Friday and cut Borussia Dortmund’s lead to three points as the Bundesliga resumed after the winter break.

The Germany midfielder scored both his goals in the first half and Robert Lewandowski added another in the 87th minute to earn the three points that lifted Bayern to 39, three behind Dortmund, who travel to RB Leipzig on Saturday.

Bayern, who have now won their last six league games, were eager to lay a marker down at the start of the year, with Dortmund in command of the league and Liverpool awaiting in the Champions League round of 16 next month.

They twice went close early in the game through Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller but both fired narrowly wide of Oliver Baumann’s goal.

Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann had won the previous two home matches in the league against Bayern but his team were under pressure from the start and Baumann made a desperate stop on the line after a goal-mouth scramble.

He made another sensational save on Lewandowski’s 35th minute header but was beaten on the rebound by Goretzka.

The 23-year-old got his second in first-half stoppage time to complete a textbook Bayern counter-attack over 80 metres.

But the visitors’ superiority was reduced after the interval and it was Hoffenheim who were more dangerous, threatening on the break and cutting the deficit with Nico Schulz’s fine finish on the hour.

Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer denied an 83rd-minute equaliser for the hosts, blocking Adam Szalai’s header, and Poland striker Lewandowski grabbed Bayern’s third goal three minutes from time to seal victory and move them within striking distance of Dortmund.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond)

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