BERLIN — Record-chasing Robert Lewandowski scored a first-half hat trick on Saturday as 10-man Bayern Munich kept its four-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga with a 4-0 win over Stuttgart.
Bayern only started playing well after Canadian youngster Alphonso Davies was sent off for a bad tackle on Stuttgart’s Wataru Endo in the 12th minute, and the defending champions’ response kept second-place Leipzig at bay before the teams meet on April 4.
Lewandowski’s 33rd, 34th and 35th goals of the season leave him needing just five more to match Bayern and West Germany great Gerd Müller’s Bundesliga record of 40 goals from the 1971-72 season. Eight rounds remain. Lewandowski’s goals on Saturday did move him past Klaus Fischer to second in the all-time top Bundesliga scorers, behind Muller.
Davies was initially shown a yellow card for landing with his studs on Endo’s ankle, but a VAR check upgraded it to a red.
The sending off only seemed to rouse his teammates. Serge Gnabry crossed for Lewandowski to open his account in the 18th minute, four minutes before Thomas Müller and Leroy Sané played their way through the Stuttgart defense for Gnabry to get Bayern’s second goal.
Müller set up Lewandowski’s second a minute later, and the Poland star completed his hat trick in the 39th after being set up by Sané.
Stuttgart’s Saša Kalajdžić, who had scored in each of his last seven appearances, missed some good chances in the second half for the visitors.
Erling Haaland scored his second goal late to salvage a 2-2 draw for Borussia Dortmund at Cologne, but the visitors dropped four points behind fourth-place Eintracht Frankfurt, which emerged from a bruising game with a 5-2 win over Union Berlin.
American forward Josh Sargent scored an own-goal in Werder Bremen’s 2-1 loss at home to third-place Wolfsburg.
Last-place Schalke was hosting Borussia Mönchengladbach later Saturday.
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Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP