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Berlin: Thomas Mueller's brace helped German football giants Bayern Munich to turn the tides against Darmstadt while Wolfsburg snatched one point at Berlin in the 22nd round of Bundesliga.
Mueller goals number 16 and 17 of the season smoothed the way for Bayern Munich's second straight win on Saturday. It was a stiff piece of work for the German record champions as newly promoted Darmstadt grabbed the lead to flabbergast the hosts, who bounced back with three-second half goals, reports Xinhua.
Bundesliga front-runners Bayern Munich took the reins from kick-off against deep defending visitors from Darmstadt. However, Pep Guardiola's men were unable to turn their dominance into a tangible reward as Arturo Vidal, Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben failed to overcome Darmstadt custodian Christian Mathenia from promising positions.
The visitors punished Bayern's wastefulness and shocked the hosts with the opener against the run of the game (26th minute) after Sandro Wagner nodded in Sandro Sirigu's cross to the near post.
The 'Bavarians' continued with their powerful display but had to wait after the restart before Mueller slotted home Rafinha's chipped ball into the area with 49 minutes into the game. Bayern gained momentum and completed the comeback as Mueller sealed his brace with an overhead kick (71st).
The 1-2 deficit took the wind out of Darmstadt's sails. The Bundesliga leaders weren't done with scoring. Bundesliga top scorer Lewandowski marked his 22nd goal of the season to round off the 3-1 victory (84th) following an assist by Franck Ribery, who returned from an injury break.
With the result, Bayern Munich extended their advantage atop the standings to 11 points whereas newly promoted Darmstadt stay 13th.
Wolfsburg secured one point at Berlin, who still wait for their first victory in 2016. Berlin was the more active team in the first half but Salomon Kalou and Vladimir Darida lacked in accuracy to slot past Wolfsburg goalkeeper Koen Casteels.
As a consequence, Wolfsburg scored the opener out of the blue after the break. Marcel Schaefer lashed in the 1-0 lead by courtesy of Vieirinha's cross (53rd). Berlin responded and piled on the pressure to restore parity just eight minutes later as Salomon Kalou capitalised on a rebound and poked home from a sharp angle.
Both sides pressed for the winner but Berlin's goalie Rune Jarstein drove Wolfsburg to despair and secured his side the 1-1 draw on home soil. The draw lifts Hertha Berlin to third place whereas Wolfsburg stay eighth.
Elsewhere, relegation threatened Hoffenheim returned to winning ways after beating Mainz 3-2 bringing an end to the latter's three-game winning streak.
Monchengladbach climbed back into the top-6 as they wrapped up a 1-0 victory over rivals Cologne thanks to a first-half goal by Mahmoud Dahoud in the 84th Rhine derby. Also, newly promoted Ingolstadt increased Bremen's relegation worries with a 2-0 victory on home soil. (IANS)