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Ribéry, the man who makes the difference

Franck Ribéry was a man in a hurry. With no more than a terse: “Sorry, I have to be at the airport,” the Frenchman sped past crowds of waiting reporters and made his way to the Allianz Arena car park. The 26-year-old, who was on his way to join up with the France national squad on Sunday evening, would normally have had plenty to say about the match which preceded his dash from the stadium.

Ribéry’s 78th-minute strike sealed not only Bayern’s 1-0 win over Hamburg, but also returned his club to first place in the standings after a 652-day absence. The post-match statements were left to others, and they were unanimous: Ribéry’s skill, they agreed, was the only factor separating an otherwise tight clash between equals.