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Tight at the top

Gap to league leaders down to four points

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Slowly but surely, Bayern and the club’s army of fans are beginning to enjoy the sight of the Bundesliga table again. Ten games into the season, Germany’s most successful club are still performing below their customary high expectations, but their current fifth place in the standings is a great improvement on the situation a short time previously.

Three weeks ago, following a disappointing goalless draw at home to Köln, Bayern slid to eighth in the table, fully eight points off the lead. But two matchdays down the line, and thanks to a 2-1 win in Freiburg and Saturday’s victory over Frankfurt by the same score, leaders Bayer Leverkusen are only four points ahead of the Bavarians.

Not good, but fast improving

“We haven’t put our world to rights yet, but it all looks a bit better now,” commented Bastian Schweinsteiger, who then challenged his team-mates with an ambitious target for the coming weeks. “Our goal is to take maximum points from the games up to Christmas.”

Uli Hoeneß feels the situation in the standings was at least partly to blame for Munich’s below-par performances of late. “You obviously sense the tension in the dressing room. When Bayern are fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth in the table, the club comes under intense media scrutiny,” the general manager commented, “the players were unnerved.”

Morale-boosting win

The manner of victory over Frankfurt - Daniel van Buyten headed the winner two minutes from time – could well prove a real morale-booster. “It’s always good when you come from behind to win,” said Mark van Bommel, “obviously, we’re not yet in the position we want. There’s plenty of room for improvement.” That would apply both to the team’s form and their place in the table.

“We have some crucial weeks ahead, and we’ll go on the offensive,” promised up-and-coming talent Thomas Müller. Speaking in the build-up to the Frankfurt clash, Van Bommel said he would have nothing against “making good two points every matchday. That would mean we were heading in the right direction.” Maybe that would also bring first place following the home meeting with Leverkusen on Matchday 13.