Soccer-Bayern end 2013 in top spot, eye Club World Cup

Reuters

* Brilliant Bayern undefeated in league this year

* Munich side beat Hamburg to go seven points clear

* Flagging Dortmund held 2-2 at mid-table Hoffenheim

* Gladbach winning streak snapped in draw at Mainz (Updates with quotes, Wolfsburg win)

By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich stretched their unbeaten Bundesliga run to a staggering 41 games with a 3-1 home win over Hamburg SV on Saturday to ensure they go into the winter break as league leaders.

Bayern, who are not in domestic action next week as they fly to Morocco for the Club World Cup, have gone the whole year without a league defeat, their last loss in the Bundesliga dating back to October 2012.

They clinched their 19th unofficial "autumn championship" at the season's halfway mark to move seven points clear at the top with 44 points from 16 matches, having won 14 and drawn two with 42 goals scored and eight conceded.

"Congratulations to Bayern for a sensational 2013," coach Pep Guardiola, who took over the treble winners this season, told reporters.

"The players already had Marrakech on their minds and I will try to convince them that there is still work to be done. But it is not easy after Champions League games in midweek.

"Now we fly to Morocco to win the last title of the year," said the Spaniard.

Second-placed Bayer Leverkusen, in action on Sunday, can cut Bayern's lead back to four points with one game left in the Bundesliga before a break until January.

HARD WORK

With Franck Ribery and David Alaba on the bench and Arjen Robben injured, Bayern were initially made to work hard against battling Hamburg, eager to redeem themselves for last season's 9-2 demolition by the Munich club.

Mario Mandzukic struck at the right time when he nodded in after 42 minutes. Mario Goetze's superb control and volley seven minutes after the restart gave them a two-goal cushion before Xherdan Shaqiri killed off the game in stoppage time.

Hamburg had briefly cut the deficit in the 87th minute through Pierre-Michel Lasogga.

Borussia Dortmund battled back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Hoffenheim but dropped further points after having won only one of their last five games to stay in third place and are now 12 points off the pace.

Goals from Sven Schipplock and Kevin Volland put the hosts in the driving seat but a goalkeeping fumble before the break saw Dortmund cut the lead though Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Lukasz Piszczek levelled from close range in the 67th.

Despite frantic attacking by Dortmund, who hit the woodwork, they could not find a third goal to complete the comeback and dropped five points behind Leverkusen and 12 adrift of Bayern.

Borussia Moenchengladbach failed to take advantage of Dortmund's slip when they drew 0-0 at Mainz 05 as their six-game winning streak snapped. They stay in fourth place level on 32 points with Dortmund.

Vfl Wolfsburg confirmed they are in top form with a 3-1 home win over VfB Stuttgart that lifted them to fifth and stretched their unbeaten run to 10 games.

Ricardo Rodriguez and Diego scored either side of the break to put them ahead and a 78th minute Ivan Perisic rebound sealed the win after Stuttgart pulled a goal back with a fine strike from 17-year-old Timo Werner - his fourth goal of the campaign.

Nuremberg looked set to notch their first league win of the season when they led 3-1 at Hanover 96 before a double strike by Senegal's Mame Diouf in the final minutes rescued an unexpected 3-3 draw for the hosts. (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Martyn Herman and Josh Reich)

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