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Munich shade proverbial game of two halves

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Munich shade proverbial game of two halves

Postby FCBayernNews » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:15 pm

Bayern have finished top of Champions League Group F after recording a maiden away victory over Lyon, but although the men from Munich were cruising at 3-0 up, a stroll turned into a scrap in a proverbial game of two halves featuring five goals and plenty of entertainment.

Miroslav Klose silenced the majority of the 38,349 who braved shocking winter weather to attend the Stade Gerland with a 12th-minute opener for the visitors, who proceeded ruthlessly to run up a three-goal lead at half time through Franck Ribery and a second from Klose.

The scoreline was a trifle harsh on the home side, who made a couple of good chances and hit a post in the first period, and veteran Sidney Govou and star striker Karim Benzema duly slashed the arrears after the restart to set up a rousing final 20 minutes.

Bayern spent the closing stages under the cosh as the French side pressed for an equaliser, but keeper Michael Rensing pulled off a string of blinding saves to seal the three points and help extend his side's unbeaten run to 15 games in all competitions.

Two changes for Klinsmann

Bayern showed two changes to the team which beat Bundesliga leaders Hoffenheim last Friday. Lucio (flu) and Ze Roberto (muscle strain) remained in Munich, with Martin Demichelis partnering Daniel van Buyten at centre-half, and Tim Borowski sharing the midfield holding duties with captain Mark van Bommel.

The rest of the FCB line-up had a familiar look, with Philipp Lahm and Ribery on the left flank, Massimo Oddo and Bastian Schweinsteiger on the right, and Luca Toni alongside Klose up front.

Olympique boss Claude Puel called up Anthony Mounier and youngster Lamine Gassama for suspended Brazilian duo Cris and Juninho, with Ederson restored to the team in place of Keita.

Lively opening

Once English referee Howard Webb whistled play underway on a bitterly cold and soaking wet night, the French cracks looked anything but below full strength in a strong opening spell. FCB keeper Michael Rensing somehow kept out Ederson's point blank header from Benzema's dinked cross, before the Brazilian midfielder whistled a shot just wide of the upright.

But the makeshift home defence looked vulnerable on the tricky surface, and Klose profited on 12 minutes, stroking home from eight yards after Ribery was gifted the ball in a penalty box mix-up.

Benzema put one wide from Mounier's driven cross, but Borowski fired over at the other end after a smooth Ribery-inspired move as the German champions settled to the task at hand.

Two in three minutes

The Bavarians then produced a double whammy with two goals in three minutes after the half-hour, Ribery advancing onto Toni's perceptive pass and sliding home the second, before a 37th-minute third goal oozing a hint of swagger and class, Schweinsteiger backheeling for Ribery to flip the ball to the back post and the waiting Klose, the striker's slightly mis-hit shot landing unstoppably in the top corner.testIn between the goals Ederson cannoned a shot off the inside of the post, and Benzema gave warning with a drive over the bar before half-time, but Bayern now appeared firmly in the driving seat, Schweinsteiger and Ribery somehow contriving not to add a fourth in a blkistering spell immediately after the restart.

Stirring finish

The German champions now elected to shift down a couple of gears, and were immediately put on the rack by a resurgent Lyon side who refused to accept the game was up. Govou pulled one back from close range on 52 minutes after Rensing could only parry Ederson's piledriver, the keeper then denying the Brazilian twice in short order from long range.

The FCB number one surpassed his previous efforts with a stunning save from Mensah's header after a combination of the upright and Schweinsteiger had prevented a goal from a corner, but Rensing was powerless to prevent Benzema's classy finish on 68 minutes after Van Bommel unluckily deflected a pass the France star's way.

The visiting keeper was at it again with ten minutes remaining, acrobatically denying sub Fred an equaliser from a header, but although Lyon piled on the pressure in a frantic finish, Rensing made a last couple of saves from Benzema and Fred to preserve a hard-earned victory on an entertaining night in the Rhone valley.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley
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