Harry Kane struck once in each half to steer Bayern Munich to a 3-0 victory over VfB Stuttgart on Sunday and keep the gap to the leaders, Bayer Leverkusen, to four points with a game in hand.
The England captain has scored 20 times in his 14 league games so far. He is only the third player in the league’s history to reach that mark by or before the halfway stage.
Despite a string of injuries and the last-minute absences due to illness of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, Bayern bagged the three points and are now on 35 with a game in hand.
Bayern were desperate to bounce back from last week’s shock 5-1 loss to Frankfurt and they needed just two minutes to score, with Kane tapping in from a Leroy Sané pass.
The Bavarians had the upper hand throughout and missed a bagful of chances with Stuttgart keeper Alexander Nübel kept busy throughout. Kane doubled their lead in the 55th after being left unmarked to head in following a cross from youngster Aleksandar Pavlovic.
Eight minutes later the visitors struck again with Kim Min-jae’s deflected header wrongfooting Nübel and killing off any hopes of a Stuttgart comeback in Bayern’s last home game of the year.
“It was probably our best performance of the season so far,” Kane said. “We wanted to be dominant. We knew how dangerous they were and we limited them to just a few chances. It was great to score twice and help the team.”
Earlier, Bayer Leverkusen’s Victor Boniface scored once and helped to set up two more goals for a 3-0 victory over the visiting Eintracht Frankfurt. Unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season, Xabi Alonso’s team took a 14th-minute lead with 22-year-old Nigeria international Boniface powering into the box and threading a low shot past two defenders and keeper Kevin Trapp for his ninth goal of the campaign.
Alejandro Grimaldo’s 35th-minute free kick slid off the crossbar before Jeremie Frimpong doubled their lead in the 51st on the rebound after Trapp had saved a Boniface shot. The striker then sent Florian Wirtz through with a clever pass for their third goal six minutes later with the Germany international chipping the ball over the keeper.
The Bundesliga stops for a winter break after next week’s matches on Tuesday and Wednesday and will resume on 12 January.
Luka Modric demonstrated his enduring value to Real Madrid by providing a goal and a brilliant assist in their 4-1 home win over Villarreal in La Liga. The 38-year-old Croatia midfielder lifted a fine first-touch cross from the edge of the box in the 25th minute to meet Jude Bellingham who leapt to nod in a superb header just out of reach of goalkeeper Filip Jorgensen.
Rodrygo extended Real’s lead with a close-range strike from a Modric corner in the 37th minute but José Morales pulled a goal back for the visitors in the 54th with a tidy finish after a counterattack.
Brahim Díaz scored the third goal for the home side in the 64th minute with a fine individual effort and Modric added his goal four minutes later, striking a loose ball inside the box. Real moved to the top of the table with 42 points, one ahead of Girona who have a game in hand and host lowly Alavés on Monday.
Paris Saint-Germain threw away two points as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Lille when the substitute Jonathan David headed a last-minute equaliser after the Ligue 1 leaders had taken the lead through a Kylian Mbappé penalty.
PSG were caught with a sucker punch when the substitute Marco Asensio’s sloppy pass was intercepted and although Adam Ounas’s deflected shot was well saved by Arnau Tenas with his legs David followed up to nod the ball into the net on the rebound. PSG had gone in front through Mbappe’s spot kick in the 66th minute after Lille’s Bafodé Diakité tripped Lucas Hernández. The result leaves PSG with 37 points, five clear of second-placed Nice
In Italy, goals by Lautaro Martínez and Marcus Thuram gave Internazionale a 2-0 win at Lazio in Serie A, extending their lead at the top of the table to four points.
Internazionale were handed the opener when the Lazio defender Adam Marusic gave away the ball as he tried to pass it backwards and Martinez latched on to it to dribble past the goalkeeper, Ivan Provedel, and score from close range in the 40th minute.
Thuram doubled the advantage after the break with a low shot inside the far post after collecting a precise pass into the box from Nicolo Barella.
Internazionale lead the table on 41 points from 16 games and have extended the gap with second-placed Juventus (37), who missed the chance to go top for 48 hours when they were held to a 1-1 draw at Genoa on Friday. Lazio are 11th with 21 points.
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