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Ribery sparks Bayern to 40-game milestone

MULLER-AUSBURGBERLIN, December 7 – France’s Franck Ribery produced a commanding display as Bayern Munich extended their record unbeaten Bundesliga run to 40 matches with a 7-0 away romp at Werder Bremen on Saturday.

Ribery staked his claim for the 2013 world footballer of the year award, which will be announced on January 13, by creating two goals and scoring twice in the rout as European champions Bayern warmed up for Tuesday’s final Champions League match at home to Manchester City.

Bayern, who last lost in the German league in October 2012, produced their biggest win so far under Pep Guardiola, cutting Bremen’s defence to tatters.

Ribery, who started his first Bundesliga match for nearly a month after a rib injury, gave Bayern the lead when his cross was turned into the net for an own goal by Werder’s Congo defender Assani Lukimya on 21 minutes.

Towering Belgian centre-back Daniel van Buyten then doubled Bayern’s lead six minutes later when he headed home from a corner before Ribery added their third on 38 minutes when he simply tapped home Thomas Mueller’s cross from the right wing.

With exactly an hour gone, Ribery provided the cross for Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic to fire into an empty net for the fourth.

And six minutes later, Germany midfielder Mario Goetze picked out Mueller in the thick of the Bremen defence to fire home for Bayern’s fifth with 68 minutes gone.

Ribery capped an eye-catching display when he converted left-back David Alaba’s cross on 82 minutes before Goetze powered past tired defenders to hit Munich’s seventh with 90 minutes gone.

With second-placed Bayer Leverkusen at third-placed Borussia Dortmund on Saturday night in the key clash of the weekend, Bayern have opened a seven-point gap at the top of the table.

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Fourth-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach stayed in touch with the league leaders as they picked up their sixth-straight win with a 2-1 win at home to Schalke 04, whose coach Jens Keller has been told a decision on his future will be made over the winter break.

Schalke must beat Swiss champions FC Basel on Wednesday to reach the Champions League’s knock-out phase and another defeat could be Keller’s last having taken charge of the Royal Blues in December 2012.

Eintracht Frankfurt stay just above the relegation places after losing 2-1 at home to Hoffenheim while Hamburg, who had been steadily climbing the table under ex-Holland manager Bert van Marwijk, slumped to a 1-0 defeat at home to Augsburg.

Stuttgart are up to 10th after picking up only their third win in the last 10 games with a 4-2 win at home to Hanover 96.

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