Bayern warm-up for Barca, win 6-1 in League game

BERLIN – Bayern Munich warmed-up for Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final, first-leg at home to Barcelona by claiming three Bundesliga records in Saturday’s 6-1 rout at Hanover 96.

Victory gave Bayern a Bundesliga-record 26th victory this season, a record ninth consecutive away win, while they also equalled Dortmund’s previous best of 81 points in a single season.

Only Hanover midfielder Andre Hoffmann’s later header denied Bayern a record 20th-clean sheet, before striker Claudio Pizarro staked a claim to start against Barcelona with his second goal having already created two.

“The players have proven time and again that we don’t have a B team, just one strong A team,” said coach Jupp Heynckes as Bayern enjoyed an easy win despite fielding a makeshift side.

“Everyone was highly motivated and we laid the ground stone for a big win early in the first half.”

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said the squad had wanted to put in an impressive display ahead of Tuesday’s European showdown.

“We wanted to prepare well for the game against Barcelona and we succeeded,” said the Germany goalkeeper.

“We played well and put in a convincing performance, especially in the first half.”

Heynckes opted to rest several stars and played a 4-4-2 formation, a break from Bayern’s usual 4-2-3-1, using two strikers with Mario Gomez and veteran Pizarro, 34, up front.

The change paid off as Bayern took an early lead when Hanover midfielder Lars Stindl turned the ball into his own net, then Bayern’s temporary captain Franck Ribery, taking over from Philipp Lahm, added a second on 22 minutes.

Germany star Gomez, who scored a hat-trick in just six second-half minutes in Bayern’s 6-1 German Cup semi-final rout of Wolfsburg on Wednesday, then scored either side of half-time.

Pizarro netted the fifth when he enjoyed a simple tap-in after David Alaba and wing Xherdan Shaqiri had combined on the left, before adding the sixth from a Arjen Robben pass after Hanover’s Hoffmann had pulled one back.

Having been confirmed Bundesliga champions a fortnight ago, Bayern remain 20 points clear in the league with four games left.

Borussia Dortmund, who host Real Madrid in the other Champions League semi-final, first leg on Wednesday, needed just 32 seconds to take the lead as they enjoyed a 2-0 win at home to Mainz 05.

The hosts went ahead when the ball deflected back as the guests goalkeeper Christian Wetklo challenged midfielder Mario Goetze and the ball fell to his Germany team-mate Marco Reus to tap into an empty net.

Poland striker Robert Lewandowski added Dortmund’s second on 87 minutes to extend his remarkable club record of having netted in each of his last 12 league matches.

Lewandoski has now scored 23 goals this season and can equal Gerd Mueller’s record of scoring in 16 consecutive games, for Bayern Munich in the 1970s, if he scores in the last four games.

Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Andre Schuerrle, who is widely being tipped to join Chelsea next season, scored twice as his side hammered relegation-threatened Hoffenheim 5-0.

Striker Stefan Kiessling also netted twice as Leverkusen maintained their grip on third place, which means an automatic Champions League spot next season, as Schalke lost 1-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt.

The result kept Armin Veh-coached Frankfurt in sixth place — a Europa League spot — with four games left.

Hamburg captain Rafael van der Vaart scored both goals in their 2-1 win at home to Fortuna Duesseldorf.

Mid-table Werder Bremen host fellow strugglers Wolfsburg on Saturday night, while on Sunday, German Cup finalists VfB Stuttgart host Freiburg while Nuremberg hosts neighbours Greuther Furth.

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