Gelsenkirchen, Germany (AP) — With players eager to avoid injury risks ahead of the World Cup, Bayern Munich beat Schalke 2-0 on Saturday in their final game before the tournament in Qatar. The win then extended the Bundesliga lead to six points.
Bayern lacked their usual intensity as Julian Nagelmann’s side cruised to victory against last-placed Schalke thanks to goals from Serge Gnabry and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.
Bayern were without Sadio Mane – due to a fibula injury that made Senegal a doubt for the World Cup – while Canadian left back Alfonso Davies has a muscle problem and Nagelsmann opted not to risk Thomas Muller after The experienced German suffered minor injuries. .
Schalke kept Bayern in the lead until the 38th minute, when Gnabry ran onto Jamal Musyala’s clever backheel pass to score the opener. Choupo-Moting, heading to his third World Cup with Cameroon, responded quickly in the 52nd for his seventh goal in his last seven Bundesliga games.
Sidi, the younger brother of Bayern forward Leroy Sane, made his league debut off the bench for Schalke. The brothers were not on the field together as Leroy was sent off five minutes before his 19-year-old brother came on.
Across the country, German fan groups continued to display banners urging fans to watch the upcoming World Cup. A large banner reading “Boycott Qatar 2022” was displayed on one side of Hertha Berlin’s stadium and similar messages were displayed at Schalke, Werder Bremen, Augsburg and other games.
Leipzig moved up to second with a 2-1 win at Bremen. Xaver Schlager raced into the penalty area and held off a fierce challenge from Amos Peiper to restore Leipzig’s lead in the 71st minute after a lucky half-time equalizer for promoted Werder. Leipzig could drop to fourth depending on the result on Sunday.
Bayer Leverkusen continued their recent resurgence under coach Xabi Alonso, beating Stuttgart 2-0 for a third straight win to move up to 11th after weeks of hanging above the relegation zone. Forward Moussa Diaby scored for the sixth time in Leverkusen’s last seven league games.
Ecuador midfielder Carlos Griezho covered his face with his jersey and was comforted by his Augsburg teammates as he suffered an injury that could jeopardize his World Cup chances. Bochum beat Augsburg 1-0 for their third win in five league games but finished second from last.
Riddle Baku was left out of Germany’s World Cup squad, but the Wolfsburg wing-back responded by scoring the winner in a 2-1 defeat to Hoffenheim. Goals from Wilfried Kanga and Marco Richter helped Hertha Berlin to a 2-0 win over Cologne to stay clear of the relegation places.