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Relieved and optimistic

FCB take first step in the right direction

In the news conference prior to Bayern’s meeting with Hannover 96, Louis van Gaal spoke of his time at AZ Alkmaar. Ahead of a meeting with PSV Eindhoven in February 2007, his team were 11 points off top spot in the table. They ultimately went into the last day as leaders, only to miss out on the title. A 13-point deficit in October, Van Gaal gave his listeners to understand, was nothing by comparison.

After a makeshift FCB had deservedly beaten third-placed Hannover 3-0 on Saturday afternoon, Van Gaal was in light-hearted form: “It's only ten points now, and that’s not much.” With eight games played, Bayern are precisely that distance off new Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund.