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Bayern back on top thanks to Ribery

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By Richard Hall

Monday 01 March 2010

Ribery 78


Franck Ribery’s turn of pace and quick feet followed by a well hit drive from 16yards was enough to give the Bavarian side a narrow win over Hamburg at the Allianz Arena. The French International’s match winner now leaves Bayern Munich two points clear of Bayer Leverkusen who only managed a goal less draw at home to Cologne.

Bayern Munich went into this match determined to regain what they see as their rightful position at the top of the Bundesliga. After missing out on the title to Wolfsburg last year the side from Bavaria are making every effort not to let the silverware slip away this term. The line up consisted of both Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery a sight that Bayern fans have seen all too little of this season. This still did not open up the game however, as in the first half chances were few, the best coming to Thomas Müller who - try as he might - could not add to his seasons tally when he lifted the bar over the cross bar from an angle. Half time saw a change of goalkeeper for Hamburg when Wolfgang Hesl replaced Frank Rost due to the latter receiving an elbow injury. Bayern continued to pile on the pressure and in the end it paid off when Ribery cut inside Guy Demel and smashed the ball inside Hesl’s near post, the ball was hit with a great deal of power but the goalkeeping was still questionable. Hamburg tried hard to reply and were unlucky when substitute Tunay Torun smashed his shot off the crossbar on minute 83 but Bayern were troubled no more.

The race for the title now looks to be shaping up nicely in Germany as Die Roten sit proudly on top of the table. Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: "This has been a great weekend for us, we expected Leverkusen to slip up, of course, and on Saturday they did us the favor."

Bayer Leverkusen who dropped points this weekend have beaten the record of 23 games unbeaten when they drew at Cologne this weekend. However, record or no record they are now playing catch up with a Bayern Munich team who have no ambition to let their lead slip. Schalke to will have to be watched as they trail Bayer Leverkusen by two points after disposing of fierce rivals Borussia Dortmund by two goals to one in the derby this weekend. The Bavarians perhaps have a kinder run in the league games in March compared to Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke but they are also tied up in the German Cup and the Champions League and big ties against Fiorentina and Schalke outside of the league will no doubt take their toll. Bayern Munich do however, have a fit Franck Ribery who can now partner an in form Arjen Robben and this could be the x factor in what looks to be a fantastic end to the season.

Louis Van Gaal was quoted saying: “Bayern should normally always be at the top," and if he can keep the likes of Ribery, Robben, Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez it would take a brave man to bet that the title will no be lifted in the Allianz Arena come May.

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