Created on 08-12-2007 at 00:00 AM
Bayern remain top of the Bundesliga but failed to capitalise on their rivals’ slip-ups with a disappointing home draw against struggling Duisburg.
The customary 69,000 full house at the Allianz Arena saw a slow-paced first half in which second-from-bottom MSV fired off as many shots as the listless league leaders, but the Reds upped the tempo after the break only to find visiting keeper Tom Starke in commanding form.
Cameroon star dismissed
The strugglers were reduced to ten men on 81 minutes after Mohamadou Idrissou collected a red card for aiming a needless kick at Oliver Kahn, but despite a late spell of pressure, it was a day on which the leaders never really looked like scoring.
The result, combined with Bremen’s 4-3 defeat in Hanover, means Bayern stay top of the standings on 35 points from 16 games and extend their lead over Werder to two points, although the Bavarians are not yet certain of the unofficial ‘winter champions’ title with one game remaining in the first half of the campaign.
Start for Sosa
Ottmar Hitzfeld made one change to the line-up from last Sunday’s victory in Bielefeld, handing Jose Ernesto Sosa a first start in place of young Toni Kroos, who himself deputised the previous week for Hamit Altintop before the Turkey international’s midweek operation.
Argentine schemer Sosa created the first decent chance for the home side with a flighted free-kick after just seven minutes, only for Martin Demichelis to steer a free header wide of the MSV goal.
But with World Cup winner Roque Junior a commanding presence at centre-half and prompted by the guile of Romania international Mihai Tararache, the strugglers enjoyed a good spell midway through the half, although Kahn easily dealt with Bulgaria schemer Blagoy Georgiev’s snap shot.
Starke beat away Mark van Bommel’s fierce drive and Christian Lell thrust purposefully into the box as the Reds reacted, but the best chance of all fell to Lucio stand-in Daniel van Buyten, the Belgian hammering a loose ball over the bar from close range a couple of minutes before the break.
Play was held up for several minutes straight after the restart after an unfortunate injury to MSV centre-half Björn Schlicke, knocked out cold in a collision with Luca Toni, before Van Buyten failed to connect with a glorious Franck Ribery cross to the near post.
No way through
Demichelis had the ball in the net on 55 minutes after Starke brilliantly parried from Toni, but referee Babak Rafati ruled the effort out for offside. The MSV keeper then denied Ribery with a full-length save from a rasping drive, and repeated the feat a couple of minutes later, but Bayern continued to labour against the visiting defence and Hitzfeld sent on Willy Sagnol and Bastian Schweinsteiger for Lell and Ze Roberto.
Lukas Podolski replaced the out-of-sorts Toni for the final 15 minutes but steered a header wide from his first chance, before Idrissou’s foolish kick at Oliver Kahn led to the Cameroon international’s dismissal with nine minutes remaining.
Bayern forced a series of corners in a frantic search for a late winner, but there was no way past Starke and his team-mates and the leaders had to be content with a disappointing draw.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley