Bayern beats Leverkusen after winter break

Bayern Munich’s midfielder Franck Ribery (L) celebrates scoring with his teammates during the German First division Bundesliga football match against Bayer Leverkusen in Leverkusen Friday. — AFP

BERLIN — The Bundesliga resumed Friday after the winter break with Bayern Munich going 14 points clear after a 3-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen.

Goals from Javi Martinez and Franck Ribery in either half, and a brilliant free kick from James Rodriguez in injury time kept the defending champions on course for a record-extending sixth consecutive title.

It was Leverkusen’s first defeat at home this season, and ended a 12-game unbeaten run.

“We weren’t brave enough in the first half. We were better in the second, but then suddenly it was 2-0,” Leverkusen midfielder Sven Bender said.

Leverkusen went close early on when Dominik Kohr headed just wide, and Leon Bailey wasted a good chance on a counterattack. But Martinez pounced to open the scoring for Bayern off the rebound after Sven Bender had blocked Arturo Vidal’s header from a corner.

Bailey hit the crossbar early in the second half after turning Niklas Suele one way and then another, before Thomas Mueller went close at the other end.

Ribery let fly with a shot inside the near post to make it 2-0 just before the hour mark.

Bayern seemed to be in control but Kevin Volland pulled one back for Leverkusen with a deflected shot and suddenly the home side was pressing for more with just under 20 minutes remaining.

Volland had a good opportunity to equalize but his first touch let him down and Jerome Boateng was able to clear, while Lucas Alario also went close for Leverkusen.

Coach Jupp Heynckes sent on winter signing Sandro Wagner for his second Bayern debut — he made four Bundesliga appearances for the senior side in the 2007-08 season — but James stole the limelight with his perfect free kick into the top left corner.

Second-place Schalke is away to Leipzig Saturday.

Getafe sinks Malaga

Malaga’s struggles in the Spanish league continued with a 1-0 loss at Getafe Friday, extending the team’s losing streak to four matches.

Malaga could drop to last place in the 20-team standings if Las Palmas earns at least a point at Girona Saturday.

Malaga has only 11 points from 19 matches. It hasn’t scored in four matches, losing the last three by 1-0.

“There are a lot of things we need to improve,” Malaga forward Alberto Bueno said. “We need to win matches to regain our confidence. When we start scoring again it will be easier.”

Juan Cala netted Getafe’s winner with a 73rd-minute header, helping his team to reach eighth place with 26 points.

Barcelona leads the league with 48 points, nine more than second-place Valencia.

Defending champion Real Madrid is fourth, 16 points off the lead with a game in hand. — Agencies