BERLIN: Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick to leave him on 31 Bundesliga goals this season and seal Bayern Munich’s 4-2 comeback home win over Borussia Dortmund on Saturday in Germany’s ‘Klassiker‘.
Dortmund raced into a 2-0 lead as Erling Braut Haaland netted twice in the first nine minutes behind closed doors at the Allianz Arena.
However Lewandowksi then struck twice, the second from the penalty spot, to haul Bayern level before the break.
Leon Goretzka put Bayern ahead for the first time with two minutes left before Lewandowski completed his hat-trick on 90 minutes.
“The quality is certainly there, that’s our DNA,” said Thomas Mueller of Bayern’s fightback.
“But it is not part of our match plan to always be behind. It’s humbling to be 2-0 down,” he added as Bayern have had to fight back on several occasions in recent weeks.
The win leaves Bayern two points clear of RB Leipzig at the top of the table.
The match delivered on its billing as the battle of the Bundesliga’s star strikers.
Haaland scored with just two minutes gone when his shot clipped the heel of Jerome Boateng.
Bayern were reeling after nine minutes when Thorgan Hazard flicked the ball back inside for Haaland to again smash the ball home.
Dortmund could have been 3-0 up on 25 minutes but Thomas Meunier squandered the chance to shoot.
A minute later, Bayern pulled a goal back when Leroy Sane squared the ball for Lewandowski to score.
Bayern went into the break level when Mahmoud Dahoud brought down Kingsley Coman in the area and Lewandowski converted the penalty.
After a frantic first-half, the tempo dropped in the second as both teams suffered key injuries.
Haaland came off after an hour gone with a cut on the back of his ankle, but Dortmund coach Edin Terzic said he should be fit to face Sevilla in the Champions League on Tuesday.
With ten minutes left, Boateng had to be helped off in clear discomfort with an ankle injury.
Bayern settled the matter when Goretzka pinged his shot in off the post before Lewandowski completed his hat-trick with an outstanding low drive.
With ten games left, Lewandowski threatens to break Gerd Mueller’s all-time record of 40 Bundesliga goals in the 1971/72 season.
Earlier RB Leipzig briefly climbed top of the table with a 3-0 romp at Freiburg thanks to goals by Christopher Nkunku, Alexander Sorloth and Emil Forsberg.
Leipzig impressed in their final tune-up before facing Liverpool in Budapest next Wednesday in the last 16 of the Champions League having lost the first leg 2-0.
Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann said goal-scoring left-back Angelino will “probably” miss the Liverpool game with a leg injury.
Third-placed Wolfsburg are now ten points adrift of Bayern having stumbled to a 2-1 defeat at mid-table Hoffenheim whose striker Andrej Kramaric scored the winning goal just before half-time.
Eintracht Frankfurt stay fourth after Filip Kostic equalised for the home team in a 1-1 draw against Stuttgart.
A late goal by Leverkusen striker Patrik Schick sealed their 1-0 win at Moenchengladbach, who drop to 10th as their miserable run continues.
Gladbach have now lost all fives games since it was announced head coach Marco Rose will take charge of Dortmund next season.
The away win eases the pressure on Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz. His fifth-placed side had failed to win any of their five previous games in all competitions.
Dodi Lukebakio converted a late penalty to seal Hertha Berlin’s 2-1 home win over Augsburg.
It was Hertha’s first victory in 10 games which pulled them up to 14th and away from the relegation fight.