BERLIN (DNA): Franck Ribery netted a rare Bundesliga goal as Bayern Munich eased to an eighth consecutive league victory with a 2-0 win over Mainz on Saturday.
After a sluggish first half-hour, the veteran Frenchman put Bayern ahead on 33 minutes. Picking up a poorly cleared corner at the edge of the box, he released a fizzing half-volley to score only his second league goal of the season.
James Rodriguez then doubled the lead just before half-time, elegantly bringing the ball down on his chest before volleying it past Robin Zentner.
“We were exhausted at the end,” Bayern centre-back Mats Hummels told Sky Sport. “Mainz passed the ball well, but we deserved to win.”
The win saw Bayern extend their lead at the top of the table to 18 points after second-placed Bayer Leverkusen were held to a 0-0 draw in Freiburg.
Lucas Alario hit the post for Leverkusen early in the game, but there were more yellow cards than chances, as seven players were booked and Freiburg once again frustrated a top team.
“It was a heated game,” Leverkusen s Julian Brandt told Sky. “We knew in advance that it wouldn’t be easy to come to Freiburg.”
Leverkusen, though, remain in second after Schalke once again dropped points. Both teams profited from goalkeeping errors in Gelsenkirchen, as a late goal saw Werder Bremen snatch a surprise 2-1 victory.
A catastrophic mistake from Jiri Pavlenka gifted Schalke the lead on 24 minutes. Yevhen Konoplyanka’s speculative effort flew straight at the Bremen goalkeeper, who allowed the ball to slip through his fingers.
“These things happen, it just looks stupid because he is the last man,” said striker Max Kruse in Pavlenka’s defence. “We all made mistakes on the pitch today.”
With 11 minutes to go there was more farcical goalkeeping as Ralf Faehrmann allowed Kruse to equalise for Bremen.