Bayern Munich take advantage of Dortmund draw, clinch tie for 'Fall Championship'
Mercedes Benz Arena, Stuttgart - FC Bayern München will enter the winter break top of the Bundesliga table after their 2-1 win Sunday evening at VfB Stuttgart and Borussia Dortmund's late 1-1 draw against 1. FC Kaiserslautern.
Former Stuttgart star Mario Gomez repaid his once-supporters by scoring twice, including the game-winner in the second half, after the home side were down a man 30 minutes earlier.
Gomez returned to the top of the league goal scorers with 15, just ahead of Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (14) and resurgent Lukas Podolski (13) of Cologne.
But it was Stuttgart who scored to open the match, only seven minutes in as captain Christian Gentner put the home side up 1-0. Gomez responded minutes later to even the match, when Rafinha flanked in a pass to the streaking Gomez who put it in to even the match.
The turning point came when Christian Molinaro earned his second yellow on an ill-advised tackle on an unsuspecting Arjen Robben. His booking left his club at a disadvantage that left Stuttgart gasping to keep up with Bayern.
Stuttgart held steady until Toni Kroos and Philipp Lahm knifed through the defense, Lahm pulled it back to an unmarked Gomez, 2-1 after 57 minutes.
Stuttgart had a chance to steal points when substitute Cacau had an open goal 10 minutes from time, but he could not convert.
"Our only goal today was three points and we reached it," said Arjen Robben.
"It was important for us to win today, and it was special for Gomez that he scored those goals," added head coach Jupp Heynckes.
Bayern clinched the honor of fall champions of the Bundesliga, the leaders of the league at the halfway point of the season. However, Heynckes warns everyone, "we still have 18 matches in front of us."
The Bavarians are comfortably in the pole position because their nearest rivals in the table, defending champs Borussia Dortmund were surprised at home, allowing Olcay Sahan of 1. FC Kaiserlautern to even the match after 60 minutes.
Bayern end the first half of the season Friday night at home in the Allianz Arena when they host former Bayern striker Podolski and 1. FC Cologne. Kickoff at 20:30 CET.