Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben (Front) takes a penalty shot during a German Bundesliga match between VfL Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich, in Wolfsburg, Germany, on Feb. 17, 2018. Bayern Munich won 2-1. (Xinhua/Shan Yuqi)
BERLIN, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Runaway leaders Bayern Munich continue their winning run to stay atop the standings after beating Wolfsburg 2-1 whereas struggling Hamburg lost 2-1 to Bayer Leverkusen in the 23rd round of the German Bundesliga on Saturday.
The German record champions craved out a 2-1 win over the "Wolves", who gave away a one-goal lead to suffer their third straight defeat.
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes made eight changes to his starting eleven, and his men were caught flatfooted in the eighth minute as Wolfsburg grabbed a bright start through Daniel Didavi, who headed home Yunus Malli's corner.
The Bundesliga front-runners controlled the ball but were unable to produce goal-scoring opportunities against Wolfsburg's well-positioned defence. It took 16 minutes before Bayern defender Niklas Suele tested Wolfsburg goalkeeper Koen Casteels with a header on target.
After the restart, Bayern came out strong and they should have levelled the scores but Arjen Robben failed to beat Casteels with a foul play penalty in the 55th minute.
However, Wolfsburg custodian was hapless moments later as Robben's pinpoint cross found Sandro Wagner, whose header from inside the box restored parity in the 64th minute.
Wolfsburg defended deep and tried to secure a draw on home soil but Bayern had the last laugh as Gian-Luca Itter fouled Robben inside the penalty area, allowing Robert Lewandowski to seal the victory from the spot in the dying minutes of the game.
With the result, Bayern extended their advantage to 21 points for the moment whereas Wolfsburg stay on the 15th place and in touching distance to the relegation zone.
Bayer Leverkusen extended Hamburg's winless run to 10 games as goals from Leon Bailey and Kai Havertz were enough to edge the "HSV" 2-1.
The "Werkself" set the tone from the kick off as Charles Aranguiz rattled the woodwork with 26 minutes on the clock. Hamburg lacked in penetration and posed no threat to Leverkusen's defence.
Heiko Herrlich's men eventually broke the deadlock with 40 minutes as Hamburg failed to clear the ball from the area allowing Bailey to tap home from close range.
Hamburg remained harmless after the interval while Leverkusen wrapped up their two-goal lead after Kai Havertz' one timer beat Hamburg goalie Christian Mathenia following the build up work from Bailey in the 50th minute.
The hosts reduced the arrears out of the blue as Andre Hahn overcame keeper Bernd Leno with a lob in the 71st minute. Hamburg pressed frenetically but Leverkusen were able to kill the clock and to secure the 10th win of the season.
With the win, Bayer Leverkusen jumped to the 2nd place while relegation threatened Hamburg continue on the 17th place with six points to safety.
Elsewhere, newly promoted Hannover held bottom side Cologne to a 1-1 draw as Niklas Fuellkrug cancelled out Yuya Osako's opener.
Freiburg downed Werder Bremen 1-0 on the sole goal of Nils Petersen, who benefitted on a first-half penalty, and Schalke moved 2-1 past Hoffenheim.
The following fixtures are scheduled for Sunday: Augsburg host newly promoted Stuttgart and Borussia Monchengladbach face Borussia Dortmund.