Bayern see off stubborn Stuttgart to keep heat on Dortmund

Bayern Munich secured their fifth successive Bundesliga win with a 4-1 victory over Stuttgart to cut the gap to leaders Borussia Dortmund back to six points.

Stuttgart, who remain just three points clear of the relegation zone, frustrated Bayern in the first half as Anastasios Donis cancelled out Thiago’s opener.

The hosts fired back with three second-half strikes, while Robert Lewandowski also missed a penalty in an ultimately resounding win.

Bayern, looking to respond to Dortmund’s thumping 5-1 win over Hannover on Saturday, got off to a flying start as Thiago put them in front after only five minutes.

The Spain international steered a side-foot finish inside the near post, but, instead of keeping their foot on the gas, Bayern eased off the peddle.

And they were punished in spectacular fashion in the 26th minute by Donis.

The Blackburn-born Greek, the son of former Rovers midfielder Giorgos, controlled a long ball on his chest and, as the Bayern defence backed off, he curled a brilliant effort into the top right-hand corner from 25 yards, past the despairing dive of Manuel Neuer and in off the post.

Struggling Stuttgart were looking dangerous on the break, with Bayern living dangerously at times as they looked to restore their lead.

Bayern winger Kingsley Coman fired just wide of the near post on the stroke of half-time, but it was level at the break to the frustration of the home crowd.

But that was eased 10 minutes into the second half as Niko Kovac’s side went back in front once again as the ball broke to half-time substitute Serge Gnabry on the edge of the area and his strike deflected in off Christian Gentner.

Bayern were fortunate not to see their lead slip away again as Nicolas Gonzalez beat Manuel Neuer with a strike from close range, but the ball bounced off the far post and back into Neuer’s arms.

Lewandowski passed up a golden chance to give Bayern some breathing space as he missed from the spot. Having been brought down by Marc-Oliver Kempf, the Poland international stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way, only to see his effort rebound off the post.

But the reigning Bundesliga champions pulled clear through Leon Goretzka, who met Joshua Kimmich’s corner to nod home.

And Lewandowski made amends for his penalty miss six minutes from time, putting the seal on the win by rounding Ron-Robert Zieler and firing in his 12th league goal of the season.

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