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Karlsruhe 1 Bayern 4

Bayern stage masterclass in art of finishing

Bayern held onto top spot in the Bundesliga and handed Oliver Kahn a happy homecoming by beating promoted Karlsruhe with the minimum of fuss on Sunday.

A sell-out 30,702 crowd at the Wildpark stadium saw Luca Toni give a reshaped Munich side the perfect start after just five minutes, and the Reds were coasting when Miroslav Klose doubled the advantage with 20 minutes on the clock.

Hamit Altintop increased the margin to three shortly after the restart, but Massimilian Porcello’s prompt reply restored the crowd’s good humour and gave the home side a glimmer of hope.

Authority reasserted

Half-time sub Ze Roberto cleared off the line as the Karlsruhe comeback storm briefly raged, but Bayern reasserted their authority over the game and the Brazilian himself netted to banish any lingering doubts with 15 minutes remaining.

Bayern’s masterclass in the art of taking chances means the Bavarians remain top of the Bundesliga standings on 14 points from six matches, two clear of new second-placed club Hertha BSC Berlin and three ahead of Leverkusen and Frankfurt in third and fourth respectively.

Coach rotates stars

Bayern boss Ottmar Hitzfeld reacted to the current punishing match schedule and a less than perfect showing at home to Belenenses in midweek by opening with Zé Roberto, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski on the bench, restoring Andreas Ottl, Altintop and Klose to the starting line-up instead.

The game was barely five minutes old when Mark van Bommel lofted a pass from the inside right channel into the penalty area. Toni, bringing the ball down with his right foot, demonstrated all his goalscorer’s predatory instincts to lob left-footed over onrushing keeper Markus Miller and register his fourth league goal in five appearances.

Klose doubles advantage

The perfect start allowed the visitors to sit back and invite the home side to come at them, leaving plenty of space on the counter-attack. Munich had men forward on a 20th-minute foray upfield, Christian Lell’s energetic efforts to seize possession setting up a shooting chance for Altintop. Miller did remarkably well to keep out the Turkey international’s precise drive, but was unable to prevent Klose claiming his fifth strike in five Bundesliga outings from the rebound.

Urged on by the outstanding Andreas Görlitz, out on a one-year loan to KSC from Bayern, the home side desperately went in search of a way back, but the Munich defence capably mopped up the pressure until striker Sebastian Freis finally forced Kahn into an excellent near-post save from Hungary winger Tamas Hajnal’s 41st minute cross.

Home side’s brief flurry

The game looked over as a contest when the home defence chose to back off and watch admiringly as Altintop expertly rifled home from Marcell Jansen’s cross on 49 minutes, but the match sprang back into life just three minutes later when a Görlitz throw-in evaded the Bavarian defence and Porcello seized the opportunity to arrow a low drive through Lucio’s legs and past Kahn.

The promoted club worked up a real head of steam as they chased a minor miracle around the hour mark, but Kahn saved superbly with his legs from sub Edmond Kapplani before Ze hacked KSC skipper and Switzerland ace Mario Eggimann’s header off the line from the resulting corner.

Ze opens account

The Karlsruhe storm more or less blew itself out after that and Bayern, with Podolski on for Toni and Schweinsteiger later replacing a subdued Franck Ribery, reasserted their grip on proceedings.

Toni headed just wide shortly before exiting the action, and Klose and Jansen drew fine saves from Miller in quick succession, but the keeper was powerless to prevent Ze driving across goal and in at the far post after astute passes from Podolski and Klose had rent the home defence asunder.

The 75th minute goal finally killed off the home side's courageous resistance, and Munich coasted to the finish with a fourth league success of the season safely in the bag.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley