Created on 07-10-2007 at 00:00 AM
It was exhibition stuff at times as Bayern tore into Bavarian rivals Nürnberg on Sunday, recording a fully merited win to go five points clear in the Bundesliga.
A 69,000 full house turned out at the Allianz Arena to witness the 49th all-Bavaria derby, the vast majority urging the home side to avenge a painful 3-0 defeat when the sides last met in January this year.
Bayern duly responded with an occasionally breathtaking display, Luca Toni continuing his prolific scoring run and Ze Roberto adding a second to put the Reds firmly in control by half-time.
Five points clear
The league leaders’ utter and effortless dominance until slackening off towards the end of the second period must have struck terror into the hearts of their Bundesliga rivals, the only criticism being Bayern’s failure to convert from a host of presentable chances until Toni completed his brace nine minutes from time.
The win takes the undefeated men from Munich onto 23 points from nine matches, five clear of new second-placed club Karlsruhe. The Reds also boast an astonishing goal difference of +22 by virtue of scoring at least three times in every home match this term bar one, a 1-1 draw with Schalke.
Ottl for Van Bommel
Bayern showed one change to the team which defeated Belenenses in the UEFA Cup last Thursday, Andreas Ottl making a rare start in place of the rested Mark van Bommel.
Boss Ottmar Hitzfeld thus opted not to recall fit-again Lukas Podolski nor to summon close-season signing Jan Schlaudraff in the continuing absence of Miroslav Klose, trusting Franck Ribery to provide an attacking foil for Toni ahead of a nominal four-man midfield.
One-sided first half
Once referee Babak Rafati had set events in motion, Oliver Kahn stand-in Michael Rensing was a virtual spectator in a one-sided first half, an early fumble and a routine take from ex-Red Zvjezdan Misimovic’ snap shot aside.
Prompted by the outstanding Ze Roberto and with Ribery in scintillating form, Bayern set about the visitors with energy and purpose, Toni making a proper nuisance of himself in the air to set up a flurry of early half-chances.
Much-travelled Czech keeper Jaromir Blazek saved well from Ze after the Brazilian and Ribery gloriously exchanged passes twice as the leaders turned the screw, but Bastian Schweinsteiger blemished an otherwise excellent display when he ballooned over the bar from just 10 yards with the goal at his mercy on 27 minutes.
Goals for Toni and Ze
Toni was unable to get any weight behind his shot after Ribery’s outrageously skilled first touch and dummy left two defenders flat-footed, prompting visiting boss Hans Meyer to end the torment for veteran defender Andreas Wolf and send on youthful Ralf Schmidt after just half an hour.
The defensive switch only delayed the inevitable by a couple of minutes, for although Martin Demichelis directed a free header over the bar, Toni was on hand to raise his Bundesliga tally to seven goals from eight games with a world-class angled finish after Blazek spilled Hamit Altintop’s 31st minute free-kick.
Worse was to follow for the outclassed visitors when Schweinsteiger’s inspired flick released Ze for a run at Blazek, the Munich man coolly doubling the advantage with a neat finish five minutes from half-time.
Luca wraps it up
Clearly feeling the two-goal lead failed to reflect their superiority, Bayern emerged after the interval and laid siege to the Nürnberg goal in a relentless 25-minute spell, although brave keeping from Blazek and a tendency to overdo the pretty stuff meant Schweinsteiger, Marcell Jansen, Ribery and Ottl all failed to add to the score.
The course of the match might possibly have altered had Nürnberg sub Joshua Kennedy not headed wide of an empty net as the Reds eased off a quarter of an hour from time, but Blazek was still required to deny Ribery in a one-on-one situation before Toni completed his brace from a perfectly-struck Ze corner to banish any lingering doubts in the 81st minute.
There was still time for Schlaudraff to make his long-delayed Bundesliga debut as a late substitute and Rensing to tip Nürnberg defender Dominic Reinhardt’s long-range howitzer onto the bar before the curtain came down on another thoroughly entertaining afternoon at the Allianz Arena.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley