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Ancelotti’s delight as Bayern’s rivals stumble

Berlin (AFP) – Carlo Ancelotti cautiously admits the Bundesliga title is effectively Bayern Munich’s to lose after they opened a 10-point lead on Saturday as their two closest rivals slipped further behind.  

Robert Lewandowski netted twice in a 3-0 home win against Eintracht Frankfurt while second-placed RB Leipzig crashed to a 1-0 defeat at home to Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund lost 2-1 at Hertha Berlin.

Bayern have now hit 28 goals in their last six games, with Lewandowski claiming 10 of them, and the Bavarian giants are on course to collect a fifth straight German league title in Ancelotti’s first season.

“It was a good day for us with good results in other stadiums,” said Ancelotti.

“The first half was difficult and Frankfurt were better than us.

“In all honesty, they didn’t deserve to be 2-0 down at the break.

“We were better after the break and got our control back.

“We have a good lead now (in the table), but we must stay focused, there are still a lot of games.”

Despite Ancelotti’s cautious approach and with ten games left, it will take a collapse for Bayern to be denied a fifth title in a row.

The German giants are also well-placed to complete a treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles.

It is nearly four months since Bayern’s last defeat — a 3-2 loss at Rostov in the Champions League on November 23.

Thomas Mueller admitted Bayern took a while to hit their stride after Tuesday’s impressive 5-1 win over Arsenal put them in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

“We certainly had a tough start today and in the first 30 minutes, the team didn’t concentrate well. We made a lot of mistakes,” admitted Mueller, who laid on Lewandowski’s opening goal.

But Frankfurt were floored by a devastating burst from Bayern just before half-time at the Allianz Arena.

Lewandowski converted Mueller’s pass on 38 minutes, then Douglas Costa added a second three minutes later to put Bayern 2-0 up at the break.

Poland hot-shot Lewandowski netted his 33rd goal this season — his 21st in the league — on 55 minutes by converting Arjen Robben’s final pass.

Bayern’s iron-grip on the Bundesliga tightened with help from their rivals.

In Leipzig, second-placed RB crashed to a 1-0 defeat at home to Wolfsburg as Germany’s Mario Gomez scored the winner.

“We could have taken a big step forward, but it’s not so easy at the top of the table,” said RB coach Ralph Hasenhuettl.

“The expectation (on the team) is enormous, we made a lot of bad decisions on the pitch and didn’t deserve any points.”

Thomas Tuchel rotated after Wednesday’s 4-0 win at home to Benfica as third-placed Dortmund suffered a Champions League hangover with a 2-1 defeat at Hertha Berlin which leaves them 16 points behind Bayern.

“The result if very annoying, but I found the performance okay,” said Tuchel.

“We had the right mentality, attitude and will, but we lacked effectiveness and precision.”

Borussia’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored for the eighth time in four games to remain the league’s top-scorer — one ahead of Lewandowski — with 22 goals, but could not prevent defeat.

Salomon Kalou had given Hertha an early lead at the Olympic Stadium before Aubameyang netted with his second touch in a move orchestrated by Japan’s Shinji Kagawa.

But dead-ball specialist Marvin Plattenhardt smashed home a free kick for Hertha’s winner on 71 minutes to give Berlin only their third win in seven games.

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