Bayern's Arjen Robben scored a quick hat-trick to help Bayern Munich demolish Hamburg SV 6-0 on Saturday after being beaten in their last three matches and deciding to dump their coach, Louis van Gaal, at the end of the season.
Robben put Bayern ahead five minutes from the break, then second again just two minutes after teams retook the pitch. His third goal came in the 55th minute. French international Franck Ribery put his name on the scorers' list in the 64th minute. German Thomas Müller added a fifth for the home side in the 79th minute, before a Heiko Westermann own goal gave Bayern the half dozen five minutes from the end.
"We are still a very strong unit, and we have said that we will get out of our problems together," Robben said. "I am confident that we will make the top three to qualify for the Champions League."
League leaders Dortmund lost at Hoffenheim after Vedad Ibisevic scored the winner in the 63rd minute, but they maintain a 12-point lead for the Bundesliga title. However, Bayer Leverkusen, playing on Sunday, could close that gap to nine points.
"We were the better side, but we were punished for not scoring," said Dortmund captain and goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller. "I have said often that we need to take all games seriously and we can't treat them like test games."
Hanover are third on 47 points, two behind Leverkusen, while Bayern come in fifth with 45.
Clueless and rudderless
A win for Mirko Slomka's Hanover on Friday would have put them in second place and consolidated their claim to Champions League soccer next season. But after a tight first half in Cologne's RheinEnergie stadium, with the visitors only one goal down, Hanover shipped three more in an ignominious second half.
"We didn't get into the game well," Cologne coach Frank Schaefer said. "There was no order. In the second half we saw a completely different team that really deserved this win."
In other matches, Eintracht Frankfurt finally scored their first goal of the year, but still lost 2-1 at Schalke. Matches between Wolfsburg and Nuremberg and Kaiserslautern and Freiburg were both decided with injury-time goals.
Per Nilsson scored a 2-1 winner for Nuremberg two minutes into injury time at Wolfsburg, while Erwin Hoffer scored for Kaiserslautern in the 92nd minute for a 2-1 win.
Author: Ben Knight, Sean Sinico (SID, dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Toma Tasovac