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Could do better

'We still have potential in reserve'

Uli Hoeneß saw "truly wonderful football," Felix Magath rated it a "top-class match," while Karl-Heinz Rummenigge witnessed "dream football" and "the best 45 minutes I've seen in the Bundesliga for many a year." The personalities at Bayern were unanimous in reacting to a 3-1 victory against closest title rivals Werder Bremen with unstinting praise, after a clash of the titans which for once lived up to its pre-match billing.

However, after the emotion had subsided, general manager Hoeneß moved to throw a blanket over any outbreak of euphoria. "It's a great result, it was a good first half, but we can improve in a number of areas," he declared.

Huge entertainment for the fans

The fabulously entertaining fare served up by both teams before the interval was "the best there's been this season," Hoeneß enthused. Just three days after energy-sapping Champions League matches, the sides treated a 66,000 capacity crowd to a scintillating display of end-to-end football bristling with pace, goals and passion.

"The first half was a genuinely fantastic game, with both teams throwing everything into attack," Magath commented. Miroslav Klose launched the festivities after just 38 seconds with Bayern's first Bundesliga goal against at the Allianz Arena. "It was classy stuff from both teams, and a gala for the spectators," Rummenigge observed.

Reds' rapid response

"We left him in the lurch. He didn't stand a chance," centre-half Valerien Ismaël admitted after Bastian Schweinsteiger completely failed to curb Klose's aerial power. But Schweinsteiger himself strode forward to level just two minutes later. Claudio Pizarro capped an outstanding afternoon with the second on 34 minutes, before Roy Makaay consigned a 70-day barren spell to history when he rounded off the scoring a minute before the break.

"It was vital we equalised at once and then kept on attacking," Magath said in praise of his side's reaction to the early deficit. Added former Bremen star Ismaël: "We showed great character after going one down."

Pause to re-group

Hoeneß's admonitory comments afterwards were directed at the second half, when Bremen seized the initiative but were unable to turn their domination of possession into goals. "We're still way off where we'd like to be. This team has loads of potential in reserve and can play much better than this. So we can't declare ourselves satisfied yet."

The Bavarians have pulled out a five-point lead over Bremen, but Magath rated that "a very small cushion," and Hoeneß issued a warning. "Let's enjoy looking at the table, but no longer than Monday. We can't rest on our laurels. We need to use the break for internationals to recharge our batteries, and then really get going."