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Red-hot Lewandowski fires Bayern past Schalke

Berlin (AFP) – Robert Lewandowski and Joshua Kimmich struck late goals in Bayern Munich’s 2-0 win at Schalke in the Bundesliga on Friday as teenage Portugal star Renato Sanches made his debut for the Bavarian giants.

Dutch forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar rattled the crossbar for Schalke early in the second half as the hosts frustrated the reigning champions for much of the evening in Gelsenkirchen.

But Lewandowski struck his fourth goal in two games nine minutes from the end to put Bayern ahead, before setting up Kimmich in stoppage time to wrap up a second victory in as many matches for Carlo Ancelotti’s side.

The Italian handed Sanches, 19, his first Bayern start following his return to fitness from a thigh injury initially sustained during Portugal’s triumphant Euro 2016 campaign.

Schalke coach Markus Weinzierl introduced two new faces of his own by fielding Ukrainian winger Yevhen Konoplyanka and Algeria midfielder Nabil Bentaleb after both joined the Royal Blues on loan last month.

Lewandowski scored a hat-trick in Bayern’s 6-0 demolition of Werder Bremen on the season-opening weekend, and the Poland striker missed an opportunity to add to his haul when he dragged wide from a Thomas Mueller cutback on 24 minutes.

But Schalke, beaten 1-0 by Eintracht Frankfurt a fortnight ago, showed plenty of promise and Manuel Neuer and David Alaba combined to deny Huntelaar shortly before the break after Konoplyanka skipped past Mats Hummels.

The Netherlands international went even closer on 56 minutes when Neuer produced a superb fingertip save to tip Huntelaar’s thunderous long-range effort onto the woodwork.

Lewandowski should have broken the deadlock on 73 minutes when Alaba’s cross evaded Mueller, with last year’s leading scorer then somehow spooning the ball over from point-blank range.

But he soon atoned for that glaring miss, taking Javi Martinez’s through ball in his stride and rifling a clinical finish beyond Ralf Fahrmann to end Schalke’s resistance.

With the hosts pressing for an equaliser, Bayern hit Schalke on the counterattack in the dying stages and Lewandowski played in Kimmich to tuck away his first goal in the German top flight. 

On Saturday, Borussia Dortmund travel to promoted RB Leipzig, while Germany striker Mario Gomez is likely to make his Wolfsburg debut away to Cologne following his return to the Bundesliga after finishing as the top scorer in Turkey last season.

Borussia Moenchengladbach, who visit Manchester City in their Champions League opener next week, must first go to promoted Freiburg.

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