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Hard-nosed and effective

Bayern signal return to winning form

Halfway through the Champions League group stage, Bayern’s record of seven points, five goals for and just one against has brought the target of a place in the knockout round well within grasp. “Our fate’s in our own hands. If we beat Steaua Bucharest at home, we’re definitely through, so we’re in a great position,” a delighted Uli Hoeneß commented following Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over Fiorentina.

In fact, Bayern could seal their place in the last sixteen by beating the men from Florence in the return fixture two weeks from now, but no-one at the club is counting any chickens just yet. “Seven points from three games is a good start, but we’ve still got two away fixtures. That won’t be easy,” captain Mark van Bommel admonished after his team’s best display of the season so far.

Tuesday’s victory owed much to a refreshingly lively and above all effective display, although the result was just a shade flattering. “We were fortunate not to concede a goal,” admitted Van Bommel. The visitors directed no fewer than 23 efforts at Michael Rensing’s goal, with star striker Adrian Mutu and Co mere inches from scoring on a number of occasions.

“The result doesn’t tell the true story,” mused Viola hitman Alberto Gilardino. “We were more ruthless," commented Miroslav Klose, who skilfully opened the scoring after four minutes. Bastian Schweinsteiger (25) and Zé Roberto (90) added equally well-taken goals.