Bundesliga, Week 18: Dortmund Crush Hamburg, Leverkusen Outlast Mainz

Week 18 in the Bundesliga wrapped up with two matches on Sunday. The early match saw Borussia Dortmund remind everyone that they are the defending champions, and the late match saw Bayer Leverkusen survive a strong challenge from Mainz.

Hamburg vs Borussia Dortmund

The champions went right after the Hamburg defense from the opening whistle and never stopped. Kevin Großkreutz was on the receiving end of a pass from Shinji Kagawa. Großkreutz slotted it past Jaroslav Drobny to kick off the scoring in the 16th minute. Robert Lewandowski would double Dortmund's lead before halftime. The Polish international made dribbling look easy as he cut his way through the Hamburg defense for a spectacular individual effort.

Knowing that Hamburg would be coming out pressing in the second half, Dortmund executed their counter attack game to perfection. Jakub Blaszczykowski put a shot past Drobny in the 58th minute, and then Kuba converted a penalty in the 76th minute after Moritz Leitner was fell in the area. Lewandowski got his brace in the 83rd minute making it 5-0 to the visitors. The hosts finally got onto the scoreboard with only a few minutes remaining thanks to Jose Paolo Guerrero.

The 5-1 drubbing sees Dortmund leapfrog into second place in the table. They are currently tied with Bayern Munich and Schalke on 37 points, and they are only separated by goal differential.

Bayer Leverkusen vs Mainz

This was truly a match of two halves. The first half was completely dominated by the hosts, but it was an own goal that saw them go in front. While Michael Ballack was unable to score from a cross, minutes later in the 11th Mainz defender Zdenek Pospech showed him how to do it by putting into his own net. Mainz finally looked to be getting their feet under them after 30 minutes, but Manuel Friedrich headed home a cross from Gonzalo Castro to make it 2-0.

It must have been some halftime speech given by Thomas Tuchel to the Mainz players, because they came out in the second half looking to strike back. Eugen Polanski tapped in a rebound from a Eric Choupo-Moting header, and Marco Caligiuri lobbed a shot perfectly over Bernd Leno's head minutes later. Just eight minutes into the second half and the score was level.

Mainz continued to press forward against the Leverkusen defense, but it was the visitors who struck next. In the 70th minute, Lars Bender jumped above everyone and powered home a Michal Kadlec corner kick. Leverkusen held on for dear life after Choupo-Moting smashed a shot off of the post.

The result puts five points between Leverkusen and 7th place Hannover 96 for the final Europa League place.

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