Bayern go four points clear with scrappy 2-1 win over Freiburg

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Bayern Munich v SC Freiburg - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - January 17, 2021 Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates Pool via REUTERS/Lukas Barth-Tuttas

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - Thomas Mueller set up one goal and scored a second-half winner as Bayern Munich struggled past Freiburg 2-1 on Sunday to snap their opponents' five-game winning run and extend their lead at the top of the Bundesliga to four points.

Bayern, who were eliminated in the German Cup by second division's Holstein Kiel in midweek after losing to Borussia Moenchengladbach in the league, have now conceded at least one goal for the 11th straight league game and were far from impressive.

The win, however, lifted them to 36 points, four ahead of RB Leipzig who drew 2-2 with VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday, and seven clear of Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund in third and fourth places.

"It was a hard earned win," said Bayern defender Jerome Boateng. "But we need to improve. It was a nervous finale and it was our fault. But we kept fighting."

"It is about winning games. We don't have to be shine every time."

The Bavarians went ahead after seven minutes as Robert Lewandowski became the first Bundesliga player to score 21 goals in the season's opening 16 matches.

The Pole is chasing Gerd Mueller's 40-goal record haul in one season that dates back to the 1971/72 season.

Eager to bounce back from their two straight losses in the league and the German Cup, the hosts came agonisingly close to a second goal early in the second half with Lewandowski hitting the crossbar and Leon Goretzka's rebound spectacularly palmed wide by keeper Florian Mueller.

Freiburg struck against the run of play from substitute Nils Petersen's first contact with the ball, a diving header at the far post in the 62nd minute for a record-extending 28th league goal as a substitute.

Thomas Mueller snatched the winner in the 74th, drilling in a shot after a Leroy Sane layoff from Kingsley Coman's cross before Freiburg's Petersen rattled the crossbar with a thundering shot in stoppage time.

Real Madrid outcast Luka Jovic scored twice on his return on loan to Eintracht Frankfurt for a 3-1 victory over Schalke 04.

The Serb, who joined until the end of the season, scored his first goal with a quick break after teenager Matthew Hoppe had levelled for Schalke -- his fourth goal in two games -- following Andre Silva's lead.

Jovic added a second with a powerful shot in second half stoppage time to lift Frankfurt to seventh on 26.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond and Pritha Sarkar)

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