presented by
Bayern 2 VfL Wolfsburg 1

Dazzling Ribery inspires return to winning ways

Franck Ribery contributed a goal and an assist as Bayern won for the first time in four league games, although Wolfsburg ran the Reds close at the end.

The 69,000 full house at the Allianz Arena saw the Bundesliga leaders slowly but surely hit their stride against former boss Felix Magath’s current team and take a deserved half-time lead through Miroslav Klose’s simple finish from a fine Ribery lay-off on 35 minutes.

Franck’s world-class second

The Frenchman ran fully 70 yards to initiate and finish a world-class second for the Reds five minutes into the second period and Bayern appeared to be coasting, but Ashkan Dejagah pulled one back with a 71st minute belter to set up an unnecessarily nervy finish.

With Bremen winning in Cottbus and third-placed Hamburg not in action until Sunday, the result means Bayern remain a point clear of Werder at the top of the standings on 31 points from 14 matches.

Daniel in for Lucio

Ottmar Hitzfeld made three changes to the side defeated in Stuttgart a fortnight ago. Daniel van Buyten made only his second league start of the season in place of the suspended Lucio, with Mark van Bommel and Klose replacing Toni Kroos and Lukas Podolski.

Immediately after referee Knut Kircher whistled play underway on a grey, damp and bone-chillingly cold afternoon in Munich, the home side made an early declaration of intent when Luca Toni headed into the side-netting from Klose’s delivery, before Wolves keeper Simon Jentzsch raced from goal to deny the Germany ace at the second attempt.

Miro’s opener

The action quietened for a spell and 20 minutes had passed before Ribery raced clear down the inside-left channel, but the France superstar’s lob over the onrushing Jentzsch also cleared the crossbar.

The deep-lying visitors began to buckle in the teeth of sustained Bayern pressure, although there appeared little danger when Peter van der Heyden shaped to clear after 35 minutes. Instead, Ribery nicked the ball off the Belgium international’s toe and unselfishly fed Klose for the simplest of finishes.

Bayern moved in for the kill now and Jentzsch was forced into a spectacular dive to fist away a Hamit Altintop free-kick, before Klose looped a 41st minute header onto the crossbar. VfL’s first chance arrived a minute later but Christian Gentner headed into Olli Kahn’s hands, and Jentzsch made a smart save from Ribery’s shot after another van der Heyden howler before the break.

World-class Ribery

Bayern doubled their advantage five minutes after the restart with a stunning Ribery strike, initiated by the Frenchman practically on the edge of his own area and coolly finished through Jentzsch’s legs after a double exchange of passes with Altintop.

Kahn saved well from an otherwise subdued Brazilian playmaker Marcelinho, and repeated the feat with an even better stop on 70 minutes, but in between the dominant leaders might have killed the game through any of Van Bommel, Altintop or Klose.

Tense finish

Marcelinho’s effort should have served as a warning to Bayern, but instead Gentner was allowed too much space on the left and cut back for Dejagah to blast a fulminating drive past the helpless Kahn and cut the arrears on 71 minutes.

Inspired by a clearly angered Van Bommel, the Reds pushed on and Toni had the ball in the net on 83 minutes only to be flagged offside, before Marcelinho drove over Kahn’s goal in an increasingly frantic finish, the leaders holding on for all three points from a potentially crucial victory.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley