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Bayern 2 Karlsruhe 0

Ribery sparkles as Reds stride seven points clear

World-class moments from superstars Luca Toni and Franck Ribery saw off game KSC as Bayern took full advantage of their league rivals’ misfortunes.

A 69,000 full house at the Allianz Arena saw the Bundesliga leaders slowly but surely turn the screw after a cautious opening, deadly striker Toni breaking the deadlock with his eleventh opening goal of the season. Plucky Karlsruhe came at the Reds after the break, but a scintillating run and shot from Ribery settled the issue as Munich cruised to their first home win of 2008.

Ottmar Hitzfeld’s 150th win with Bayern in his 450th match as a Bundesliga coach takes the Bavarians onto 50 points from 23 matches, fully seven clear of second-placed Bremen after Werder crashed 6-3 away to champions Stuttgart.

Half-a-dozen changes

Just as he chose to do in the preceding matches against Schalke and Anderlecht, Ottmar Hitzfeld made six changes to his starting line-up, remaining true to his rotation policy despite the five-goal midweek gala in Brussels.

Oliver Kahn, Christian Lell, Marcell Jansen, Ribery, Miroslav Klose and fit-again Luico returned to the team, with Michael Rensing, Willy Sagnol, Philipp Lahm, Andreas Ottl, Lukas Podolski and the suspended Mark van Bommel making way.

Keeper Miller on form

Bayern had the better of a cagey opening phase, Ribery causing the visiting defence problems from the off and falling in the box after a collision with KSC’s on-loan Munich man Andreas Görlitz, although referee Dr Drees waved away the Reds’ penalty appeals. The promoted club sporadically threatened, although the final pass invariably went astray, and the home side shifted up a gear to make it one-way traffic from the midpoint of the half.

The match at times resembled a personal duel between the Bayern forwards and in-form KSC keeper Markus Miller, who closed down the angle to deny Klose, scrambled across goal as Ribery’s drive hit the side-netting, dived to beat Toni to a dangerous Ribery cross, and capped the lot with an excellent save to turn aside the France superstar’s well-placed free-kick.

Another Luca opener

Hamit Altintop whistled a drive narrowly wide, but the sides appeared destined to turn round deadlocked until Toni’s moment of magic on 41 minutes, the big Italian skilfully controlling Lell’s intelligent pass before holding off KSC captain Maik Franz and drilling his shot across Miller and in off the far post.

Bastian Schweinsteiger came within inches of connecting after Toni’s flick in the last move of the half, but it was a different story in the first quarter-hour after the restart as the promoted visitors enjoyed their best spell, Massimilian Porcello forcing Kahn into a decent take.

Fabulous Franck

But the KSC flurry petered out on the hour, and Klose might have done better from a good position on the edge of the six-yard box, before Ribery showed how only he can do it with the glorious dribble and finish to make it 2-0 on 64 minutes, the Frenchman leaving four Karlsruhe defenders trailing in his wake in a genuinely world-class demonstration of pace and skill.

Hungary ace Tamas Hajnal tested Kahn as the courageous visitors sought a way back, but the better chances came at the other end where Jansen rifled a drive narrowly wide and Klose guided a header wide with the goal gaping. The luckless Germany striker gave way to Jose Sosa, the Argentine soon testing Miller from 18 yards, but the biggest cheers were reserved for the news flashes from Stuttgart and the significant defeat for Bayern’s chief title rivals.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley