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Bayern catch Bayer…

…but Van Gaal dismayed by below-par display

One of the key factors in Bayern’s recent successes can be found in the dugout. It is Hermann Gerland, Louis van Gaal’s assistant, and a man who owes his loyalty to two different clubs. He belongs 51 percent to Bayern, and 49 percent to VfL Bochum, the hometown club where the 55-year-old played, and also began his coaching career. The Bochum connection has become extremely valuable of late.

Two weeks ago, a resurgent Bochum fired a last-gasp equaliser to take a point off Schalke in a 2-2 draw, and Bayern duly leapfrogged the Gelsenkirchen side to go second. This weekend, VfL held leaders Leverkusen to a 1-1 draw, allowing Munich to rise higher than ever before this term: the men in red are now level on points with Leverkusen, behind the Rhineland side by just two goals.