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Match Report: Stuttgart - Bayern

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Match Report: Stuttgart - Bayern

Postby FCBayernNews » Sat Apr 21, 2007 4:30 pm

21.04.2007

Bayern’s dream of qualifying for next term’s Champions League hang by a thread after a demoralising defeat to closest rivals VfB Stuttgart.

A 57,400 full house at the Gottlieb-Daimler stadium witnessed a cautious affair until midway through the first half, when Brazilian hitman Cacau single-handedly took it upon himself to rip the visitors asunder with a lucky opener, a cool second, and a shot off the bar which would surely have wrapped up the points just half-an-hour into the match.

Instead, the champions’ hopes of a salvage operation flickered briefly after the restart, but confident Stuttgart had too much composure and resolve to let the outcome slip and now lie five points ahead of the Bavarians, who remain fourth on 53 points, seven and nine respectively behind weekend winners Bremen and Schalke with just four matches to play.

<b>Reds unchanged</b>

Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld kept faith with the side which beat Leverkusen 2-1 last weekend, handing another start to Christian Lell at right-back in place of long-term injury victim Willy Sagnol.

Roque Santa Cruz was again asked to provide invention behind the front two at the apex of a midfield diamond featuring Hasan Salihamidzic, Owen Hargreaves and Mark van Bommel, with Lukas Podolski again partnering Roy Makaay up front.

<b>Nightmare first half</b>

Van Bommel just failed to lob home keeper Timo Hildebrand and Salihamidzic was too surprised to convert when the ball landed at his feet in the six-yard box, but the first half shot count of 10-1 in Stuttgart’s favour told its own story after 45 minutes the champions would certainly rather forget.

Benni Lauth, former Red Thomas Hitzlsperger and fellow Germany international Roberto Hilbert had all come close before Bayern failed to clear their lines on 24 minutes, allowing Mexico star Ricardo Osorio to angle a cross into the area.

Lell swung at the ball, but the youngster’s attempted clearance ricocheted off the diving Cacau’s head and past Oliver Kahn’s despairing dive. The visitors hardly had time to draw breath before Sami Khedira broke on the right and crossed for Cacau to burst between Bayern’s static centre-halves and slot home.

<b>Better after restart</b>

Munich were all at sea, but it could have been even worse as Cacau first failed to beat Kahn from a thoroughly inviting position and then smacked a drive against the crossbar, prompting the giant keeper to hurl away his cap in disgust and collect a booking from referee Dr Markus Merk.

Kahn still had a save to make from Hitzlsperger before Bayern reached the haven of half-time, Hitzfeld sending on Claudio Pizarro for the ineffective Podolski in the hope things could only improve after the restart.

<b>Rally in vain</b>

The General’s men duly upped the tempo in the first twenty minutes of the second period and Pizarro and Van Bommel warmed Hildebrand’s gloves, but Bayern were vulnerable to counter-attacks and Kahn was at his most alert to deny Hilbert, Hitzlsperger and Khedira in short succession.

Bayern heads visibly went down as the Reds failed to make headway, and Stuttgart comfortably ran don the clock to seal an eighth away defeat of term for the champions, and a reverse laden with consequences at that.

<i>Live match report for <b>fcbayern.de</b> by Chris Hamley</i>
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