International Soccer

Bayern starts second half of season on winning note

Monchengladbach, Germany ( - Bayern Munich picked up where it left off on Friday as the club kicked off the second half of the Bundesliga season with a 2-0 win at Monchengladbach.

Mario Gotze needed just seven minutes to fire Bayern in front and Thomas Muller scored from the penalty spot early in the second half to wrap up Bayern's ninth successive win in league play.

The victory takes the club 10 points clear of second-place Bayer Leverkusen, while Monchengladbach saw its eight-match unbeaten streak halted.

Muller had a hand in both of Bayern's goals as he picked out Gotze near the penalty spot with a pass that allowed the former Dortmund man to roll his shot into the lower left corner of the net.

Xherdan Shaqiri almost doubled the lead in the 32nd when he went close with a free kick, but Bayern needed only seven minutes after the break to add to its lead.

Monchengladbach's Granit Xhaka was called for handling the ball inside his own area, and Muller stepped up to fire his spot kick inside the left post.

The home side came close to finding a way back into the match in the 64th when Patrick Herrmann struck the post, but it was as close as Monchengladbach would come to beating goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

Second-place Bayer Leverkusen resumes its chase of leaders Bayern Munich when the club travels to relegation-battling Freiburg, which sits one point from safety.

Borussia Dortmund limped to the finish in the first half of the season with just one point from its last three games, dropping the team into fourth place.

But Dortmund will have the chance to climb to third with a home win against mid-table Augsburg on Saturday, while Wolfsburg sits in fifth place, two points adrift of Dortmund, and hosts Hannover.

Nurnberg is still searching for its first win of the campaign as the club gets set to host Hoffenheim, Mainz travels to Stuttgart, Hertha Berlin takes on an Eintracht side that sits one point above the relegation places, last-place Braunschweig travels to Werder Bremen and Hamburg squares off with Schalke.

01/24 16:45:59 ET