Ribéry shines in 'absolutely deserved' victory

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"Now we need three more victories and one draw to achieve something no team has ever achieved in Germany," Pep Guardiola noted with satisfaction after Saturday's 3-1 success away to VfB Stuttgart. On Matchday 29, FC Bayern took the next important step in their quest for a fourth championship title in a row. "We've shown that we're not dropping any points in this phase of the season. We've laid down a powerful marker," declared Thomas Müller after a strong Bayern display.

As so often in recent months FCB were up against extremely defensive opponents. The frustration was only relieved by Georg Niedermeier's own goal following a fine Franck Ribéry cross on the half-hour. David Alaba doubled the lead with his first league goal of the season early in the second half before Stuttgart's Daniel Didavi pulled one back a few minutes after the hour. Douglas Costa wrapped things up with his left boot shortly before the final whistle, his first away goal in the Bundesliga.

"We did well, the victory was absolutely deserved," summarised Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, impressed by Ribéry's performance in particular: "He was the best man on the park and turned in a superb display!" Slowly but surely the French winger, who was forced to the sidelines with injury for a long time, is recapturing his best form: his dynamism and vigour is certainly back. "We saw a very strong Franck Ribéry today," agreed Alaba.

Respect for Benfica

Saturday afternoon was not as enjoyable for Arturo Vidal, who was substituted after only 26 minutes, in serious danger of a second booking. "I didn't want to take any risks," Guardiola explained. The Chilean international left the pitch and proved he understood the situation shortly afterwards, revealed Matthias Sammer. "I briefly talked to him during half-time. He knows it was the right thing to do." Ribéry added: "It happens – no problem. He's a very important player for us."

Vidal is set to prove that in Lisbon on Wednesday, when Bayern aim to go through to the Champions League semi-finals. "We'll travel to Lisbon with respect. It's going to be a tough match, but the result in the first leg wasn't so bad," announced Rummenigge. He has reason to be optimistic as the Bavarians are buoyed by a run of six straight wins in competitive fixtures prior to the do-or-die European showdown.


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