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Show of strength

Hallmarks of a team close to peak form

Louis van Gaal spotted the danger posed by the onrushing Arjen Robben and attempted a quick getaway. But clad as he was in stylish dress shoes, he struggled for grip on the damp Weserstadion running track. The Bayern boss lost his footing and his balance, and ended up on his back. Ultimately, he threw up his arms in a gesture of surrender and embraced Robben, who had just fired the winning goal for his side.

However, Van Gaal was the only man from the Munich camp metaphorically forced to his knees on an entertaining afternoon in Bremen. In a truly memorable Bundesliga encounter, Bayern chalked up a fully merited 3-2 win over Werder to reclaim top spot in the standings, for one night at least. “I’m a very happy coach today,” said Van Gaal, sporting a plaster on his finger: “I’ve suffered a cut, but it doesn’t matter because we’ve won 3-2.”