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The Bayern way

Van Gaal’s methods starting to bear fruit

Louis van Gaal feels fully settled to life in Munich these days. “I love the local culture,” the Dutchman declared after just under six months at the Bayern helm. Making a pre-Christmas visit on Sunday to the official fan club in the village of Eberfing south of Lake Starnberg, Van Gaal praised the friendliness and politeness of the people in his adopted home country, and revealed his appreciation for the cuisine too. “Even as a meat eater, I’ve never eaten as much meat as I have in Germany. It’s very wonderful indeed,” the smiling 58-year-old told his rapt audience. However, the main reason for Van Gaal’s current satisfaction is the upturn in his team’s fortunes on the field of play in recent weeks.

Bayern have now won their last five matches in all competitions, responding to adversity in the Champions League with a stunning 4-1 victory over Juventus in Turin, and cutting the deficit to Bundesliga leaders Leverkusen from six to two points in a matter of weeks.