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Nürnberg 1 Bayern 1

Last-gasp Lukas rescues precious point

Half-time sub Lukas Podolski’s late strike, the Germany man’s first league goal of term, earned below-par Munich a valuable draw away to struggling Nürnberg as the 50th Bavarian derby ended all square.

A 46,780 full house at the Frankenstadion saw the leaders begin energetically enough but fade alarmingly as the first half wore on, and former Munich man Zvjezdan Misimovic’s fine opener a minute from the break was no more than the struggling home side deserved.

Reds maintain lead

The out-of-sorts visitors so nearly went two down but for Olli Kahn’s fine reaction save from Jan Koller on the hour, and the Reds were ultimately rewarded for sticking to the task at hand when the only truly classy move of the match paved the way for Podolski to open his league account and earn his side a precious point with nine minutes remaining.

The importance of Poldi's first-ever goal as a sub in the Bundesliga was underlined by results from around the grounds, where Hamburg and Schalke both drew and Leverkusen and Bremen lost at home, leaving FCB seven points clear of HSV on 54 points from 26 matches.

Lell and Lahm on the right

Bayern boss Ottmar Hitzfeld made three changes to the side which beat Leverkusen last weekend, all of them enforced. Daniel van Buyten deputised for Martin Demichelis, whose black eye picked up on Argentina duty in midweek turned out to be more of a handicap than originally thought, with Andreas Ottl in for the suspended Mark van Bommel.

The team-sheet showed Christian Lell replacing Hamit Altintop (fractured metatarsal), although the Bayern youth product filled his customary right-back position as Hitzfeld experimented with an unusual tactical variation, preferring Philipp Lahm in an unfamiliar wide midfield role rather than the more obvious option of Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Toni denied

The match almost opened in the best possible manner for the visitors, but FCN keeper Jaromir Blazek denied Luca Toni as the striker charged onto a Ze Roberto flick with little more than ten seconds played.

Bayern comfortably dominated the opening exchanges after that, but the early chance may have lulled the Reds into a false sense of security and man-mountain Koller headed into Kahn’s hands as the home side settled with a quarter of an hour played.

Ivan Saenko forced another routine take from Kahn and Javier Pinola rifled a drive narrowly wide as the warning signs increased midway through the half, but the Munich keeper was on hand to smother Germany international Marco Engelhardt’s 33rd-minute effort.

Home side open scoring

A high, wide and not very handsome Toni shot was all Bayern could muster in an uninspiring half from the leaders’ point of view, but FCN were rewarded for a high-energy display when Lahm and Lell were caught on the hop disputing a throw-in award near the half-way line, allowing Saenko to race clear.

The Russian’s flick found Misimovic, a six-season stalwart in the Bayern youths and reserves, and the Bosnian’s cultured right boot did the rest with a sublime dipping shot from 20 yards.

Hitzfeld reacted to the half-time deficit by withdrawing the out-of-sorts Miro Klose and introducing Podolski, but the new man steered Franck Ribery’s low cross wide of the upright on 55 minutes, and the leaders enjoyed a huge let-off on the hour when Kahn dived to save Koller’s close-range effort after a Lell howler on his own six-yard line.

Lukas crowns final flourish

The Bayern keeper then charged fully 35 yards from goal to deny Andreas Wolf as FCN cleverly used a chance to break, before Hitzfeld sent on Jose Sosa for Lell in an effort to inject creativity into his side’s stilted labours.

Toni came off second best to Blazek in an almighty scramble provoked by a skilful Ribery run and cut-back, but it was still too little and Schweinsteiger finally made an appearance for the defensive Ottl with just short of 20 minutes to play.

The Reds were still lacking inspiration as a team until individual skills conjured up an equaliser nine minutes from time: everything from Ze’s long pass, Toni’s flicked header and Ribery’s deft flick oozed class, leaving Podolski free to hammer home with his left foot and level the scores. The visitors ran down the clock comfortably enough, grateful for the barely deserved point from a less than satisfactory display.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley