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Bayern in good shape for Xmas run-in

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Bayern in good shape for Xmas run-in

Postby FCBayernNews » Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:15 pm

The battle for top spot in the Bundesliga at the halfway point in the season continues. A week after unnecessarily drawing away to Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayern resumed their pursuit of the teams ahead of them with a routine 4-1 home win over Energie Cottbus, thereby sending out a clear message of intent to leaders Hoffenheim and second-placed Leverkusen.

"We're gradually getting to where we want to be," summarised coach Jürgen Klinsmann after his men stretched their unbeaten run to eight games. "We're keeping up the pressure on the top two, and we're still aiming to be top at Christmas. We play Leverkusen and Hoffenheim in our next two matches. It'll be interesting to see how it all looks come mid-December."

The double winners must first negotiate Tuesday's Champions League meeting with Steaua Bucharest, although the dress rehearsal against bottom club Energie went entirely according to plan. "It went like clockwork, apart from the number of missed chances. We'd have liked to see a couple more goals," Klinsmann observed.

The home side won the shot count by a mighty 33 to 10, with Luca Toni alone shooting at goal on 13 occasions. The men in red managed "only" four goals, but general manager Hoeneß was still satisfied. "We eased off at 4-1, because we all know what lies ahead, and we need to keep some energy in reserve."

Bizarrely, Munich utterly dominated the first quarter of the game but fell behind to Ervin Skela's 25th-minute free-kick. "The world was briefly turned upside down," said Bastian Schweinsteiger. Added Klinsmann: "It was irritating, because we could already have been three goals up. But we weren't unsettled, because we knew that if we kept the pace high, we'd make chances and turn it around step by step."

The outstanding Franck Ribéry (29) levelled with a sublime direct free-kick, before Martin Demichelis (38) handed his side the lead before half-time. "We reacted well to going behind, quickly coming back to score twice," Hoeneß enthused. Miroslav Klose (54) and Luca Toni (59) then wrapped up the points, to the delight of all but a handful in the 69,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena.

"We wanted to win, and win well. Even in the first half, we played the football we want to be playing. It was good. We attacked at speed, we all but shut them out at our end, and we created any number of chances," a satisfied Philipp Lahm noted. "We're aiming to win all our games before Christmas. If we do, we'll be top."

"The team's picking up shape and power as it goes. We've not lost for two months now. The others will slip up at some point, and we'll pass them," a confident Klinsmann observed. Wins in the next two Bundesliga fixtures, away to Leverkusen and at home to Hoffenheim, would take the champions a giant stride nearer their goal.
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