Leaders Bayern Munich overcame the coronavirus-related absence of coach Julian Nagelsmann with a 4-0 Bundesliga victory over Hoffenheim overshadowed by a vaccination debate around their Germany midfielder Joshua Kimmich on Saturday.
Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Kingsley Coman found the net before the influential Kimmich confirmed news reports he was yet to get the jab.
Kimmich told Sky TV after the match “I have some personal concerns” and that he was looking at long-term studies around vaccines while also citing vaccinated people contracting and transmitting Covid-19.
But he also said he was being tested every two or three days and said: “I am neither a coronavirus denier nor opposed to vaccination.
“It is very possible I will get vaccinated. Maybe even soon.”
Assistant Dino Toppmoeller was in charge like in the mid-week 4-0 Champions League win at Benfica, while Nagelsmann helped from his home quarantine due to a positive coronavirus test.
Lewandowski, who thundered in a shot from 20 metres, has now scored 26 goals in 34 league matches in 2021, just six shy of the all-time calendar year Bundesliga record set by Gerd Mueller, also of Bayern, in 1972.
Bayern maintained a one-point lead over Borussia Dortmund who for their part overcame the absence of injured striker Erling Haaland by winning 3-1 at second-last Arminia Bielefeld.
Injured Haaland could not offer help for Dortmund who however prevailed 3-1 at second-last Arminia Bielefeld, with Emre Can taking over penalty duties from the Norwegian before Mats Hummels and Jude Bellingham were also on target.
“Overall it was a deserved win and it was a good reaction (to the midweek 4-0 loss to Ajax),” Dortmund coach Marco Rose said.
“It was a bit rocky at the start of the game but we controlled it better in the second half and that third goal killed off the match,” he said. “I would have wished to have kept a clean sheet after that.”
Dortmund have has conceded more Bundesliga goals this season than lowly Bielefeld who have yet to win a game.
Elsewhere, surprise team Freiburg are third after winning 2-0 at Wolfsburg thanks to Philipp Lienhart and Lucas Hoeler. They are the only unbeaten side in the league while Wolfsburg have picked up only one point in the last five games after winning the first four.
RB Leipzig got a big 4-1 comeback victory over winless bottom side Greuther Fuerth, with Emil Forsberg among the scorers on his 30th birthday.