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LEVERKUSEN, Germany (AP) — Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry scored twice apiece as Bayern Munich demolished Bayer Leverkusen 5-1 on Sunday to return to the top of the Bundesliga table.

Four goals in seven minutes left Leverkusen in tatters before half-time as Bayern made a statement win to underline why it’s chasing a 10th consecutive title and proved it’s bounced back from a rare defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt last time out.

Bayern needed less than four minutes to take the lead with a touch of style from Lewandowski. Dayot Upamecano picked up an overhit free kick on the touchline and crossed it low for Lewandowski to score with a backheel. Lewandowski lost no time ending a blip of two games without a goal. The Poland striker’s relentless scoring form means that was his worst Bundesliga run since 2019.

Alphonso Davies danced through the Leverkusen penalty area to set up the second before laying the ball off for Lewandowski to apply the finish in the 30th. Then Leverkusen collapsed.

Thomas Müller claimed the third goal in the 34th when Niklas Süle’s shot deflected off his thigh and into the net. The fourth came seconds after the restart, Gnabry scoring off a Müller cross as Leverkusen’s offside trap misfired. Then came a fifth in the 37th, Gnabry again after combining with Leon Goretzka, as a once-close game turned swiftly into a humiliation.

For the second season in a row, Bayern came to Leverkusen with the clubs at the top of the Bundesliga table and snuffed out Leverkusen’s budding title hopes. At least last year it was close — Lewandowski sealing a 2-1 win in added time — but this time, the young, fast Leverkusen team built by new coach Gerardo Seoane was utterly outclassed.

The win returned Bayern to top spot in the Bundesliga after being overtaken when Borussia Dortmund beat Mainz 3-1 a day earlier. Bayern’s only loss so far under coach Julian Nagelsmann, the 2-1 defeat to Frankfurt on Oct. 3, was due in large part to an exceptional goalkeeping performance by Kevin Trapp and offers no real blueprint to would-be challengers. Leverkusen is third.

Even before half time, Nagelsmann’s thoughts turned to rotating the squad ahead of a Champions League trip to Benfica on Wednesday. Davies was withdrawn for the 21-year-old fringe defender Josip Stanisic in the 40th, and Lewandowski and Müller followed him to the bench early in the second half.

Leverkusen salvaged a scrap of pride when Patrik Schick scored in the 51st off a sharp through ball from 18-year-old Florian Wirtz, but a comeback was never on the cards. In eight league games this season, Bayern has scored 29 times to build an imposing goal difference of 22, meaning an average margin of victory of nearly three goals.

Augsburg hosts Arminia Bielefeld later Sunday.

___

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Taiwan scrambles fighters to see off Chinese warplanes as Xi meets top brass

Taipei (Reuters)Taiwan's air force scrambled again on Sunday to warn away 27 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defense zone, Taiwan's Defense Ministry said, the latest increase in tensions across the Taiwan Strait as China's President met his top generals.

Chinese-claimed Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China's air force near the democratically governed island, often in the southwestern part of its air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.Taiwan calls China's repeated nearby military activities "gray zone" warfare, designed to both wear out Taiwan's forces by making them repeatedly scramble, and also to test Taiwan's responses.

    27 PLA aircraft (KJ-500 AEW&C*2, Y-9 EW, H-6*5, Y-20 Aerial Refueling , J-10*6, J-11*4 and J-16*8) entered #Taiwan's southwest ADIZ on November 28, 2021. Please check our official website for more information: https://t.co/5dD6TBSyh7 pic.twitter.com/AeNKLdRaXG

    — 國防部 Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. ???????? (@MoNDefense) November 28, 2021 Over a four-day period beginning on October 1, when China marked its national day, Taiwan said that nearly 150 PLA military aircraft entered its ADIZ, not territorial air space but a broader area Taiwan monitors and patrols that acts to give it more time to respond to any threats.
      The latest Chinese mission included 18 fighters jets plus five nuclear-capable H-6 bombers, as well as, unusually, a Y-20 aerial refueling aircraft, the Taiwan ministry said.Read MoreThe bombers and six of the fighters flew to the south of Taiwan into the Bashi Channel which separates the island from the Philippines, then out into the Pacific before heading back to China, according to a map the ministry provided.
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      Taiwan holds ceremony for advanced F-16V fighter jets 02:11Those aircraft were accompanied by the refueling aircraft, suggesting China refueled the shorter-ranged fighters inflight, a skill that the country's air force is still working to hone to enable it to project power further from China's shores.Taiwan sent combat aircraft to warn away the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them, the ministry said.There was no immediate comment from China, which has in the past said such moves were drills aimed at protecting the country's sovereignty.China has built the worlds largest navy. Now whats Beijing going to do with it?However, Chinese state media reported that President Xi Jinping had held a three-day meeting which ended on Sunday with the country's top officers to discuss how further to strengthen the armed forces through talent cultivation.While the read out of his remarks made no direct mention of Taiwan, Xi did stress the need to modernize the military to be able to win wars.
        "It is necessary to make great efforts to strengthen scientific and technological literacy and improve the actual ability to win modern wars," the official Xinhua news agency cited Xi as saying."It is necessary to strengthen practical experience and encourage and guide officers and soldiers to experience the wind and rain, see the world, strengthen their muscles and bones, and develop their talents in fiery military practice."

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