Published January 08, 2015
Munich, Germany (SportsNetwork.com) - Bayern Munich maintained its seven-point lead atop the Bundesliga table on Saturday as Franck Ribery's 51st-minute goal was the difference in a 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena in a battle of top-four sides.
Leverkusen was the more dangerous team in the first half as the visitors took the match to Bayern, who were fortunate to go into the break on even terms.
Karim Bellarabi had a good chance in the opening few minutes for Leverkusen when he pounced on a loose ball inside the penalty area and beat goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, only for Juan Bernat to clear the shot off the goal line.
Heung-Min Son and Bellarabi were causing problems for Bayern going forward, while the Leverkusen defense severely limited chances for the defending champions.
However, Bayern managed to score the lone goal early in the second half with their first real chance of the match.
A corner kick opportunity saw Xabi Alonso knock the ball down for Ribery, who hammered a shot past Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno for his 100th Bayern goal.
Some of the wind was knocked out of Leverkusen after the tally from Ribery, and Leno did well to keep his side within a goal as he pushed a shot from Thomas Muller onto the post.
But Bayern saw out the rest of the match without being seriously threatened, and Leverkusen drops to fourth place with the loss as Augsburg jumped into third following a 2-1 win at Cologne thanks to second-half goals from Nikola Djurdjic and Alexander Esswein.
Schalke rolled to a 4-0 win at Stuttgart behind a hat trick from Maxim Choupo- Moting, Monchengladbach held off Hertha Berlin, 3-2, Wolfsburg is five points clear in second place after a 3-1 win at Hannover, while Elias Kachunga scored in the 89th minute for Paderborn to rescue a 1-1 draw with Freiburg.