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European football

Lacklustre Bayern dig deep to rescue draw against Mainz

The Bavarians, chasing a fifth straight Bundesliga title, lacked any spark for much of the game

Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich twice came from a goal down to struggle to a 2-2 draw against visitors Mainz 05 on Saturday, but stayed nine points clear at the top with four matches remaining.

The Bavarians, chasing a fifth straight Bundesliga title, lacked any spark for much of the game, with Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final extra time loss to Real Madrid having taken its toll on the players.

They are on 70 points, with second-placed RB Leipzig on 61, ahead of their match at Schalke 04 on Sunday.

Bayern, who next face Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup semi-final next week, made an error-ridden start and Bojan Krkic sneaked in to fire the visitors ahead after four minutes.

Levin Oztunali could have doubled the lead from close range a little later as Bayern looked disorganised.

Arjen Robben levelled after a fine break from the Bavarians, but they were again on the backfoot when Mainz were awarded a 40th-minute penalty and Daniel Brosinski beat keeper Sven Ulreich, who was replacing injured Manuel Neuer.

Thiago Alcantara’s low drive from the edge of the box drew Bayern level for the second time but despite late efforts and more than 70 percent possession they could not find a winner.

They have now gone three matches in all competitions without a victory.

Vedad Ibisevic’s 12th goal of the season gave Hertha Berlin a 1-0 win over VfL Wolfsburg to stay on course for a Europa League spot in fifth place on 46.

Borussia Dortmund, on 53, will move back into the top three with victory over Borussia Moenchengladbach later on Saturday after Hoffenheim drew 1-1 at Cologne on Friday to stay third two points head.

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