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Bayern 1 Werder Bremen 1

Dominant Munich frustrated by gritty Werder

Leaders Bayern dominated second-placed Bremen for long spells in the top-of-the-table showdown but lacked the spark to see off their resolute rivals.

The vast majority of the 69,000 full house at the Allianz Arena were stunned into silence when Diego fired the visitors into a shock sixth-minute lead, and worse was to come when Bremen keeper Tim Wiese beat out Luca Toni’s penalty on the half-hour, but Ze Roberto finished off the best move of the half after 32 minutes to level before the break.

Compared to the incident-packed first period, the second half was a disappointment as Bayern failed to convert territorial domination into chances, although the Reds were the victims of a dubious refereeing call when Toni netted only to be called back for a debateable offside flag.

The share of the spoils takes Bayern onto 40 points from 19 matches, still three clear of Bremen and five ahead of new third-placed club Schalke.

Hamit and Bastian for Franck and Jose

Ottmar Hitzfeld made two changes to the side which emerged victorious from last weekend’s restart fixture away to Rostock. Bastian Schweinsteiger replaced the injured Franck Ribery on the left, with Hamit Altintop’s pace and endurance preferred to Jose Sosa’s guile on the opposite flank.

Bremen boss Thomas Schaaf, deprived of Naldo and Hugo Almeida with suspension and Torsten Frings, Clemens Fritz and Ivan Klasnic to injury, started with young Austrian hitman Martin Harnik alongside Markus Rosenberg up front, with fit-again Munich-bound enforcer Tim Borowski and Diego instructed to pull the midfield strings.

Munich fight back

Former Werder hero Miroslav Klose fired across the box as the leaders opened energetically, but hit back ruthlessly on the break as Rosenberg thrust deep into Bayern territory and squared for Diego to race between two defenders and net with an angled drive across Oliver Kahn.

Bayern needed a good quarter of an hour to regain their composure after the early shock, but a close shave after Frank Baumann latched onto the lively Rosenberg’s cross into the box seemed to shake the home side awake.

Klose directed a free header wide of the far post from Schweinsteiger’s cross as the men in red upped the tempo midway through the half, and Werder keeper Tim Wiese saved well from Mark van Bommel’s fizzing drive, the Dutch ace blasting the follow-up across the face of goal.

Toni’s miss, Ze’s leveller

The Bavarians seemed to have reaped the reward for a sustained spell of pressure after 29 minutes, referee Thorsten Kinhöfer pointing to the spot after Wiese clumsily felled Toni as the striker shaped to net from close range, but the Italian’s spot-kick was a poor effort and the Bremen shot-stopper made a comfortable save.

But the northerners’ respite was brief as Altintop and Toni combined in the slickest passing move of the half to release Ze on a burst into the box, the Brazilian coolly slotting home to level on 32 minutes and take his personal goalscoring total for the season to three.

The pace dropped now as the sides adjusted to the deadlocked situation, and although the home side continued to enjoy the bulk of the possession, neither keeper was called into serious action until Wiese got down sharply to beat out Altintop’s drive from a chance set up by the tireless Van Bommel’s sheer persistence.

No late breakthrough

Hitzfeld reacted to his side’s lack of penetration by bringing on Toni Kroos for the subdued Schweinsteiger with twenty minutes left, and the youngster confirmed his outstanding potential with a fierce drive just wide of the upright after 74 minutes. Lukas Podolski also entered the fray for Klose, but it was Toni who put the ball into the net only to be hauled back by a questionable offside flag.

Sosa took over from Willy Sagnol as Munich prepared for a final assault, but Toni blasted over with only Wiese to beat, and Borowski fired high and wide from a decent position in a rare Bremen foray upfield as the match ended in a more or less deserved draw.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley