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Bayern beat Hoffenheim 3-1 in German Bundesliga

(Xinhua)    15:12, January 19, 2019

Kingsley Coman (C) of Bayern Munich vies with Pavel Kaderabek (R) and Oliver Baumann of Hoffenheim during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Munich and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in Sinsheim, Germany, Jan. 18, 2019. Munich won 3-1. (Xinhua/Ulrich Hufnagel)

Leon Goretzka's brace helped Bayern Munich down Hoffenheim 3-1 at the curtain raiser of the second half of the season on Friday.

The German record champions took the reins from the kick off and came to promising chances through Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller.

It was just a matter of time before Bayern would turn their dominance into a tangible reward as Leon Goretzka tapped home a parry from Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann, who defused Lewandowski's initial header in the 34th minute.

As the match progressed, Hoffenheim gained a foothold into the game but Bayern remained relentless and doubled the lead before the break after Goretzka made the most of David Alaba's pin-point cross in the 45th minute.

After the restart, Hoffenheim increased their efforts but Kerem Demirbay missed a promising opportunity in the 53rd minute. However, the hosts got rewarded six minutes later when Nico Schulz finished off a counter attack to make it 2-1.

Bayern were shocked meanwhile Hoffenheim gained momentum and pressed forward. Adam Szalai had the golden chance to level the scores but Bayern custodian Manuel Neuer defused the header on target in the 83rd minute.

The chance was a wakening call for the visitors as Bayern killed the game in the closing period when Thomas Mueller's square pass allowed Lewandowski to tap home the 3-1 lead.

With the result, runners-up Bayern Munich reduced the arrears to Bundesliga front runners Borussia Dortmund to three points while Hoffenheim stay 7th in the standings.

"Bayern's victory is absolutely deserved. They played very well. We had too much respect in the first half. After the break we played much better," Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann said.

"We played a sensational first half. We want to hunt Dortmund and become champions at the end of the season," Bayern Munich coach Nico Kovac said.

The following fixtures are scheduled for the 18th round on Saturday: Bayer Leverkusen host third placed Borussia Monchengladbach, Stuttgart face Mainz, Eintracht Frankfurt see Freiburg, Augsburg encounter Fortuna Dusseldorf, Hannover clash with Werder Bremen and Leipzig meet Borussia Dortmund.

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(Web editor: Liu Ning, Bianji)

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