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Staying in shape

Balancing act between attack and defence

Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Dortmund was Bayern’s 12th win on the bounce in all competitions. Goals from Mark van Bommel, Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben brought the crowd to its feet. Franck Ribéry is fit again and looked close to his old self down the left flank. However, the match stats graphically illustrate Munich’s need not to forget the essential balance between defence and attack.

The visitors fired off no fewer than 17 shots at goal. Midweek cup opponents Fürth and last weekend’s league foes Wolfsburg also created a host of presentable openings – too many for Jörg Butt’s liking. “We’re putting away our own chances, but also handing our opponents too many. We need to be critical of ourselves and improve,” said the FCB keeper, who turned in another outstanding display last Saturday.

Defence is certainly the only area of Bayern’s play requiring serious attention, as the team is a formidable prospect going forward. “Jörg’s been sensational recently, but we can’t just leave it to him," observed Gomez. “It has to improve,” agreed Louis Van Gaal, with an eye on Wednesday’s crucial home meeting with Fiorentina in the Champions League Round of 16. “We’re not tight enough at the back. We’ll be punished for that in the Champions League,” Philipp Lahm warned.

Variety of options

Ribéry’s return has made FCB an even more exciting attacking team. “He brings that certain extra,” said Arjen Robben. “They’re both unquestionably world class,” Gomez stated admiringly, thrilled by the devastating Robben/Ribéry pairing down the flanks.