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Van Bommel: That's the best kind of win

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Van Bommel: That's the best kind of win

Postby FCBayernNews » Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:45 pm

Following the last home match of 2008, and backed by a festive light and fireworks display, the Bayern playing and coaching staff wished happy holidays to the Allianz Arena faithful in joyous mood on Friday, all thanks to Luca Toni. Just a few minutes earlier, the Italian netted a crucial stoppage-time winner to seal a 2-1 victory over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.

"That's the best kind of win," smiled Mark van Bommel, after Bayern drew level on points with Hoffenheim at the top of the Bundesliga standings. Friday's visitors remain first with a goal difference of +19 to the champions' +15. "We aimed to win and go into the last match before Christmas on a par with Hoffenheim. That's what's happened, and I'm pleased about it," Karl-Heinz Rummenigge commented.

The honour of topping the pile at the halfway mark now goes down to Matchday 17. Bayern travel to Stuttgart on Saturday, with Hoffenheim at home to Schalke on Sunday. "It won't be easy for either team," remarked Rummenigge. "It would be nice to spend the winter break at the top," Van Bommel mused, "but what really matters is lifting the shield after the 34th game."

Bayern took another step towards that target on Friday evening in a pulsating clash between the top two which entirely lived up to its pre-match billing. Pace, urgency, clattering challenges, goalmouth action at both ends and a dramatic conclusion proved a potent recipe. "It was a terrific match between two terrific teams. The game exceeded expectations," Rummenigge enthused.

Hoffenheim contributed hugely to the entertainment, proving - if proof were needed - that their spectacular rise to the top of the table is no accident. Jürgen Klinsmann was "highly impressed" with the promoted club's courageous display, "chapeau, Hoffenheim," offered Franck Ribéry, and Rummenigge described the visitors as "the best team to visit the Arena this season. They pushed us to the limit."

In the spell following Vedad Ibisevic's 49th-minute opener, the visitors looked the more likely winners. "It didn't look good for us for a time," Rummenigge conceded, "but our team served up another thrilling comeback." Philipp Lahm (60) and the said Toni (90+2) sealed a vital victory, albeit described by Rummenigge as "rather lucky". Five minutes from time, FCB keeper Michael Rensing pulled off a stunning save to deny Sejad Salihovic what would surely have been the decisive goal for the visitors.

TSG coach Ralf Rangnick, who like Klinsmann spent the entire 90 minutes gesticulating and shouting encouragement from the touchline, admitted to "brutal" disappointment afterwards. "We're gutted by the result. We deserved a point," he lamented, "two years ago, we lost to the Bayern reserves at the Grünwald stadium, and it was much more deserved than today."

The emotions hovered at the opposite end of the spectrum in the FCB camp. "We've caught up a huge amount of ground and set off on a run after stumbling a little to start with," commented Klinsmann, whose men have now gone ten league games without defeat. "The team's been top class in the last couple of months," agreed Rummenigge. Klinsmann even feels "it's a bit of a shame we're about to go into the winter break."

Bayern fell as low as eleventh in the autumn and have not quite arrived at where they want to be. "We have a lot of hard work ahead if we're to finish above Hoffenheim this season," Rummenigge warned, "this team will match us all the way in the title race." Van Bommel was in agreement: "That was a genuinely big game between two equally good teams. We'll have to wait for the end of the season before we know who's best."
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