Thursday December 09, 2021

Bayern rout Hoffenheim amid Kimmich debate

Published : 23 Oct 2021, 22:07

  By John Bagratuni, dpa

23 October 2021, Bavaria, Munich: Bayern Munich's Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scores his side's third goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Bayern Munich and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at Allianz Arena. Photo: Sven Hoppe/dpa.

Leaders Bayern Munich overcame the coronavirus absence of coach Julian Nagelsmann with a 4-0 Bundesliga victory against Hoffenheim overshadowed by a vaccination debate around their Germany midfielder Joshua Kimmich on Saturday.

Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Kingsley Coman found the net before the influential Kimmich confirmed news reports he was yet to get the jab.

Kimmich told Sky TV after the match "I have some personal concerns" and that he was looking at long-term studies around vaccines while also citing vaccinated people contracting and transmitting Covid-19.

But he also said he was being tested every two or three days and said: "I am neither a coronavirus denier nor opposed to vaccination.

"It is very possible I will get vaccinated. Maybe even soon."

Vaccination is not mandatory at the German champions.

Assistant Dino Toppmoeller was in charge like in the mid-week 4-0 Champions League win at Benfica, while Nagelsmann helped from his home quarantine.

Bayern maintained a one-point lead over Borussia Dortmund, who for their part made light of the absence of injured striker Erling Haaland by winning 3-1 at second-last Arminia Bielefeld.

Lewandowski missed an early sitter and Gnabry had a goal disallowed upon video review shortly after but soon both were on the scoresheet.

A slick move saw Gnabry unmarked on the right as he fired home a low shot between the legs of goalkeeper Oliver Baumann.

Lewandowski curled the second from some 25 metres on the half-hour mark, set up nicely by Thomas Mueller, as he raised his calendar year tally to a personal record 34 league goals.

Bayern had a host of further chances before substitutes Choupo-Moting and Coman, who had a recent heart operation, wrapped up matters with late goals.

Four days after being thrashed 4-0 by Ajax in the Champions League, Dortmund started strongly in Bielefeld with Haaland's replacement Donyell Malen lively with two scoring chances.

They broke the deadlock in the 31st when Emre Can calmly converted from the spot in Haaland's place after Jude Bellingham was brought down.

Hummels volleyed in the second on the stroke of half-time and Bellingham ran past three defenders to slot in the third. Fabian Klos converted a penalty for winless Bielefeld's consolation goal.

"We wanted to give a good answer after Tuesday and apart from a few first half minutes we were very focused," Hummels said.

Elsewhere, surprise team Freiburg are third after winning 2-0 at Wolfsburg thanks to Philipp Lienhart and Lucas Hoeler. They are the only unbeaten side in the league while Wolfsburg have picked up only one point in the last five games after winning the first four.

RB Leipzig got a big 4-1 comeback victory over winless bottom side Greuther Fuerth, with Emil Forsberg among the scorers on his 30th birthday.

In Saturday's late game, Hertha Berlin beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 1-0 thanks to Marco Richter's acrobatic strike in the first half.

The win helped the hosts leapfrog inconsistent Gladbach into 10th.

Mainz crushed Augsburg 4-1 on Friday. The Sunday games are a regional derby between Cologne and Leverkusen, VfB Stuttgart v Union Berlin and Bochum v Eintracht Frankfurt.