Created on 01-02-2008 at 00:00 AM
Bayern looked to be cruising in Friday’s Bundesliga restart fixture, but strugglers Hansa made a real fight of it in the proverbial game of two halves.
Franck Ribery silenced the majority of the 29,000 capacity crowd at the DKB Arena on the blustery Baltic coast with the opening goal after just 11 minutes, ushering in an uninterrupted spell of Bayern dominance crowned by Luca Toni’s tenth of the season two minutes from the interval.
Rostock captain Enrico Kern pulled one back seven minutes after half-time as the sides swapped roles in a frantic second period, but the leaders held on for the three points and have laid down the gauntlet to rivals Bremen and the pursuing pack.
Ottmar Hitzfeld made a single change to the side which beat Wuppertal 5-2 in the Cup last Tuesday, restoring Argentine enforcer Martin Demichelis at centre-half alongside Lucio in place of midweek goalscorer Daniel van Buyten.
That meant a first Bundesliga start in ten months for France star Willy Sagnol, and another outing in wide midfield ahead of the right-back for Jose Ernesto Sosa, with Hamit Altintop consigned to the bench and Bastian Schweinsteiger serving a one-match ban.
Elsewhere, Ribery and Philipp Lahm lined up on the left with Ze Roberto and Mark van Bommel in the centre, behind the usual front two of Toni and Miroslav Klose.
One-sided first half
Struggling Hansa made a bright enough start, but Toni and Ze had already loosed off warning shots at keeper Stefan Wächter’s goal before Ze exchanged passes with Klose on the left edge of the box and hared to the byline, delivering an inviting centre for the unmarked Ribery to side-foot home.
With Hansa on the ropes, Klose squandered two glorious chances to double the advantage, electing to pass when slipping the ball past Wächter looked the obvious solution, before failing to beat the keeper with an angled drive.
The visitors operated a containment policy for a long spell after that, before Toni’s drive from outside the box brought a decent stop from Wächter on the half-hour.
Luca’s tenth of term
Rostock finally directed an effort at the target on 33 minutes, although Oliver Kahn had little difficulty plucking Christian Rahn’s looping header from under the bar, and Bayern now picked up the tempo again as Lucio blasted goalwards and Ribery’s shot from Van Bommel’s pass was somehow scrambled clear.
But the Reds were not to be denied for long, and Toni thumped home with his left foot to make it 2-0 on 43 minutes after Demichelis’ run from Van Bommel’s free-kick drew the Italian’s marker, Brazilian centre-back Orestes.
Ribery came close in the last move of the first period, but the France superstar failed to appear for the second half with a tweaked hamstring and was replaced by Altintop, with Sosa switching to the left.
The line-up change seemed to throw Bayern out of their stride, and in any case Hansa were a team transformed after the interval, driven on by Rahn’s promptings and the physical presence of towering striker Viktor Agali.
The Reds suddenly looked vulnerable, and Hansa skipper Enrico Kern duly pulled one back on 52 minutes. Kahn initially beat out the striker’s thumping drive, but Rahn returned the loose ball against the bar and Kern stroked into the empty net.
Young midfielder Fin Bartels was only denied on the hour by Ze’s desperate intervention and Marc Stein’s long throw into the box almost left Gledson with a sight of goal, prompting a concerned Hitzfeld to withdraw Klose for holding midfielder Andi Ottl a quarter of an hour from the end.
The switch allowed the league leaders to draw Hansa’s sting, Toni scooping over the bar with only Wächter to beat and directing a header narrowly wide as the Reds restored parity towards the end.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley