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Three crucial points

Champions move within range of the top

Deep in the bowels of the Allianz Arena, shortly after Bayern’s 1-0 victory over Karlsruhe on Saturday, Bayern chief scout Michael Henke warmly greeted his counterparts from Barcelona and handed them DVDs of the game. Whether there was much to learn is another matter: two-and-a-half weeks ahead of their first Champions League meeting with the men from Munich, the Catalan ‘spies’ hardly saw anything to make them quake with fear.

“There’s nothing much to say: we played badly but won,” was captain Mark van Bommel’s concise analysis. After three convincing displays and a rain of goals in beating Lisbon 7-1, Hannover 5-1 and Bochum 3-0, FCB had to be content with the slimmest margin of victory at the weekend. “At this stage of the season, these are the games you have to win. There are three points at stake, we’ve taken them, and that’s all that matters,” Van Bommel concluded.