German forward Mario Gomez scored a hat-trick in Bayern Munich's 7-1 demolition of Hoffenheim today as the Bavarians trimmed the gap behind Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund to five points.
Defending champions Dortmund were held to a goalless draw at Augsburg on tonight as Bayern took the chance to cut their lead and give themselves a confidence boost ahead of Tuesday's UEFA Champions League clash with Basel.
Dortmund came up against a Augsburg team battling relegation as the valuable point moved the hosts up to 15th in the league and out of the relegation places as they frustrated the league leaders.
Bayern had earlier got the win they badly needed in Munich ahead of their last-16 home clash against FC Basel when they must overturn a 1-0 defeat from the first leg.
With Bayern licking their wounds from last weekend's 2-0 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen, they responded to the pressure by blitzing Hoffenheim with five goals in exactly 30 minutes during a devastating first-half performance. Mario Gomez hit a treble, while Arjen Robben scored twice, and Toni Kroos and Franck Ribery added the others.
"The difference from the Leverkusen game was that we have now played well over 90 minutes and took our chances," said Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes. "We played at a frenzy and the goals were all a delicacy. I've noticed over the week that the team wanted to move up a gear and flick the lever. This will give us a boost for Tuesday."
This was only Bayern's fifth win in their ten games since Christmas, but with third-placed Monchengladbach being held to a goalless draw by Freiburg, Bayern are now three points clear of third with a huge goal difference.
Germany striker Lukas Podolski, who reports claim is set to join Arsenal at the end of the season, was shown a straight red card in Cologne's bad-tempered 1-0 home win over Hertha Berlin as the hosts finished with nine men. Cologne midfielder Christian Clemens scored the first-half winner, but Podolski was one of three players sent off for aiming a second-half head butt and was shown a straight red on 76 minutes.
After their humiliating 7-1 defeat at Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, Bayer Leverkusen slumped to a 3-2 defeat at Wolfsburg, despite taking an early lead. Finally, Mainz are up to tenth after their 2-1 win at home to Nurnberg as Egypt forward Mohamed Zidan continued his remarkable scoring run with his sixth goal in consecutive games when he drilled home a free-kick on 22 minutes.