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Closing in fast

Resurgent Bayern buzzing with confidence

Bayern are fast closing in on top spot in the Bundesliga. Saturday’s convincing 5-1 success away to Bochum takes Munich up to third, just two points off leaders Bayer Leverkusen. “Leverkusen can feel us approaching now,” a satisfied director of sport Christian Nerlinger smiled after a second gala display from Louis van Gaal’s men within the space of four days.

At the start of November, in the wake of a 1-1 home draw with Schalke, Bayern were eighth in the standings, six points behind Leverkusen. Four games later, the Bavarians could yet claim the coveted prize of first place going into the mid-season break. “We want the championship shield. First place at Christmas isn’t our priority,” said captain Mark van Bommel. “But I never gave up hope we might spend Christmas on top of the league,” responded Uli Hoeneß, who has seen four wins on the bounce since he assumed the role of club president.