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Bayern ‘will improve’ for vital Champions League clash, says Goretzka


Berlin (AFP) – Leon Goretzka has vowed Bayern Munich will improve on Saturday’s shaky 1-0 home win over Augsburg, three days before their crucial Champions League tie against Villarreal.

A late Robert Lewandowski penalty spared hosts Bayern who struggled until a handball by Augsburg defender Reece Oxford resulted in the winning spot kick eight minutes from time.

Bayern host Villarreal on Tuesday in their Champions League quarter-final second leg, having lost the first match 1-0 away last Wednesday.

“The first half was not good from us,” admitted Bayern midfielder Goretzka. “The intensity was missing.

“We will have to improve on Tuesday — and that’s what we will do. The place will be on fire. Then we will deliver a performance that is Bayern-like.”

Saturday’s win edged Bayern closer to a 10th straight league title, extending their lead to nine points over second-placed Borussia Dortmund who beat Stuttgart 2-0 on Friday.

Lewandowski has netted 32 league goals this season, leaving him poised to be the Bundesliga top-scorer for the fifth consecutive campaign.

Thomas Mueller, meanwhile, reached the landmark of 300 Bundesliga wins, a record for a player at a single club.

Yet the milestone statistics failed to disguise Bayern’s poor display. 

In the wake of Wednesday’s first-leg defeat at Villarreal, Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann said he had no more “tolerance for wobbles and slip-ups”.

Yet until Lewandowski’s spot-kick, this was another disjointed, stuttering performance.

Bayern barely created a shot in the first half under pressure from Augsburg who stunned their Bavarian rivals when the clubs met last November.

Teenager Jamal Musiala came on at half-time, before wingers Alphonso Davies and Kingsley Coman also came off the bench.

The injection of pace paid off as Bayern looked far more dangerous.

Joshua Kimmich forced a superb diving save from Augsburg goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz with an hour gone.

After the ball clipped Oxford’s hand from a cross, Lewandowski secured the three points.

“We’re in a phase of the season where we don’t have to shine, just win,” added Nagelsmann.

– Union dominate Berlin derby –

Union ran riot in the Berlin derby by hammering hosts Hertha 4-1 in front of a sell-out crowd of 74,667 at the Olympic Stadium.

Japan midfielder Genki Haraguchi gave the visitors a first-half lead with a superb header only for Hertha to equalise when Union defender Timo Baumgartl turned the ball into his own net.

Union turned the screw on relegation-threatened Hertha, who are second from bottom, with three unanswered goals.

Grischa Proemel headed Union back into the lead, then Sheraldo Becker claimed a brilliant individual goal before replacement striker Sven Michel hit the fourth five minutes from time.

This is the third time Union have beaten Hertha this season – twice in the league and also away in the German Cup last January.

Elsewhere, Cologne came back from behind to grab a 3-2 home win over Mainz with Luca Kilian hitting the late winner to claim his first Bundesliga goal.

Wolfsburg ended a run of three defeats with a 4-0 home win over Arminia Bielefeld, whose defender Cedric Brunner had to be stretchered off following a head injury.

Borussia Moenchengladbach pulled away from the relegation battle and into mid-table with a 2-0 win at bottom side Greuther Fuerth.

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