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Lewandowski scores late to keep Bayern on title track (video)

Bundesliga

MUNICH, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 21: Robert Lewandowski (C) of FC Bayern Muenchen celebrates his second goal with teammates Alphonso Davies (L) and Joshua Zirkzee during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and SC Paderborn 07 at Allianz Arena on February 21, 2020 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by A. Beier/Getty Images for FC Bayern)

Getty Images for FC Bayern

MUNICH -- Robert Lewandowski scored late for leader Bayern Munich to get a head start on its Bundesliga rivals after a hard-fought 3-2 win over bottom side Paderborn on Friday.

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The Polish striker scored twice and took his league-leading tally to 25 with the winning goal in the 88th minute, set up like his previous goal by Serge Gnabry, who scored the opener in the 25th.

Bayern (49) stretched its lead to four points ahead of the rest of the 23rd round, with rivals Leipzig (45), Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach (42 each) all playing on Saturday.

The visitors were first to have the ball in the net, but Paderborn striker Streli Mamba was clearly offside and the linesman waited before raising his flag to rule out his third-minute goal.

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Paderborn defended well, keeping Bayern at bay until Gnabry found a way through with two touches after Lewandowski persevered to win the ball back in the 25th.

A mistake from Manuel Neuer allowed Dennis Srbeny to equalize a minute before the break. The Bayern goalkeeper emerged from goal in typical fashion but failed to clear and Srbeny eluded three helpless defenders before shooting to the unguarded net.

Lewandowski restored Bayern’s lead in the 70th, finishing off a Gnabry cross.

Sven Michel equalized five minutes later, from a rebound after Neuer deflected Dennis Jastrzembski’s effort to his feet. But Lewandowski had the last say to keep Bayern’s title charge going.

Paderborn remained six points from safety.