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Robben hits winner

International Sports

Arjen Robben celebrates his goal.Arjen Robben celebrates his goal.Arjen Robben's last-minute winner ensured German leaders Bayern Munich ended a successful 2014 with a dramatic victory at mid-table Mainz.

Mainz led when Elkin Soto met a low right-wing cross to fire through the legs of Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer.

But their lead lasted 167 seconds as Bastian Schweinsteiger curled a 20-yard free-kick into the top corner.

Neuer superbly denied Mainz midfielder Yunus Malli shortly after half-time before Robben struck from close range.

Bayern, who won the German league and cup double last term, move 14 points clear of nearest rivals Wolfsburg, who host Cologne on Saturday.

With the Bundesliga taking a five-week winter break after this weekend, the Bavarian club have already been crowned as the 'Herbstmeister' - the title given to the side who enter the mid-season point as league leaders.

But Pep Guardiola's side, who have won 14 and drawn three of their 17 Bundesliga matches, were rather fortunate to leave Mainz with maximum points.

Ballon d'Or nominee Neuer is vying with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to be crowned as the world's best player and, despite his earlier error for Mainz's opener, showed his world-class quality to deny Malli.

The Mainz midfielder raced clear of the Bayern defence on to Koo Ja-cheol's lofted through-ball, only to see his angled half-volley beaten away by the 28-year-old keeper.

And that save proved pivotal. Netherlands forward Robben netted the winner, in the same week he was crowned Dutch Sportsman of the Year, by converting Juan Bernat's left-wing cross with 30 seconds of normal time remaining.

Bayern return to action when they visit Wolfsburg on 30 January.

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