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Bayern boss Niko Kovac hails ‘sensational’ first half during Hoffenheim win

Leon Goretzka scored a first-half brace to set Bayern on their way to victory.

Niko Kovac was full of praise for his side’s “sensational” first-half performance as they closed the gap with table-toppers Borussia Dortmund to three points following a 3-1 win at Hoffenheim.

A first-half Leon Goretzka brace set up Bayern’s first victory away at Hoffenheim since August 2015.

Nico Schulz expertly pulled one back for the home side, nodding past a defender to set up a shot which he fired past Manuel Neuer from outside the penalty area.

However, Bayern’s two-goal lead was restored by Robert Lewandowski three minutes from time with the Poland international striker slotting in Thomas Muller’s cross to record his 11th goal of the season.

Speaking about his side’s performance, Kovac told the club’s official website: “The first half was sensational. That’s what we can do.

“The result is good, we started well from the back and have built up pressure.”

The Bayern head coach also set his sights on toppling Dortmund at the end of the season, he added: “We are the pursuers and want to hunt down BVB. The key is that we end up at the top.”

Goretzka echoed his coach on the title race, adding: “We played in the first half of the season so that we were six points behind. Now we are the hunters.

“All in all, we delivered a good fight. In the first half it was a great game from us,” the two-goal midfielder added.

“Things got a bit hectic in the second half but when we completed the counter attack (for the third goal), the game was decided.

“We wanted to start well in the second half and it was important to play a good game.”

Hoffenheim head coach Julian Nagelsmann admitted the Bavarian side deserved to win and was critical of his side’s first-half performance.

“The first half was scary of us, the second was good. In the first half we were weak and anxious, hiding a lot and showing little aggressiveness,” he said.

“Defensively we had little courage. We changed over during the break. We can be satisfied with the second half. In the end, Bayern deserved to win.”

Press Association

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