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Eintracht Frankfurt 1 Bayern 3

Toni at the double in Reds’ rousing fightback

Two-goal Luca Toni moved to 20 for the campaign as youthful Bayern produced a stirring second-half display to come from behind in Frankfurt.

A raucous 51,500 full house at the sumptuously-appointed Commerzbank Arena saw Benjamin Köhler put the home side one up on the half-hour with the first headed goal the leaders have conceded all season, and it could have been worse if Ioannis Amanatidis had not shanked wide of an open goal a minute before the break.

The Bavarians were rewarded for their domination of possession and a considerably more inventive start to the second half when Daniel Van Buyten headed the equaliser on the hour, and the turnaround was completed by Toni’s ruthless double strike in the last quarter of an hour, taking the Italian to an astonishing 33 goals in 40 games this term.

An 18th league win in 29 matches takes Bayern to 63 points, ten clear of second-placed Werder Bremen, and now in with a theoretical chance of wrapping up a 21st domestic title in their next game, a home meeting with champions Stuttgart on 27 April.

General shuffles the deck

With the Cup final but three days away, Ottmar Hitzfeld unsurprisingly rang the changes and made five alterations to the side which thrashed Dortmund at the weekend. Michael Rensing deputised for the injured Olli Kahn, with Jose Sosa, Toni Kroos, Franck Ribery and captain for the night Lucio in for the rested Demichelis, Lahm and Podolski, and the suspended Zé Roberto.

As Bastian Schweinsteiger, Andreas Ottl and Christian Lell also lined up along with fellow U-24 men Sosa, Kroos and Ribery, and with seniors such as Kahn, Ze and Mark van Bommel absent, it was the youngest Munich starting line-up in the Bundesliga since 1995.

Uninspired Munich

The match opened with a couple of scares for the visitors, Czech wunderkind Martin Fenin failing to exploit a Rensing miscue with just seconds played, and Lucio hacking clear off the line after the Bayern keeper took the sting off an Amanatidis effort from six yards.

Sosa shot across goal and Kroos hit the side-netting before Eintracht keeper Markus Pröll dealt capably with a Luca Toni snapshot, but the brief rally petered out and stalemate set in as the players struggled with the increasingly slippery surface.

In the circumstances, the home side’s 29th-minute opener came out of the blue, former Munich reserve Patrick Ochs scampering clear down the right and swinging a cross to the back post where the unmarked Köhler headed back across Rensing and into the corner.

Daniel’s leveller

The leaders pounded the packed Frankfurt defence but had nothing to show before the break other than another Kroos drive, and there was a huge let-off for the Bavarians on the stroke of half-time when Fenin rounded Rensing and cut the ball back for Amanatidis, only for the Eintracht skipper to slice horribly wide.

Kroos gave way to Podolski for the second half, and there was a greater sense of urgency about the visitors as Pröll just applied fingertips to a slithering Ribery prod, before beating away a scuffed Lell drive and grasping a Sagnol curler at the second attempt.

Rensing pushed a Fenin shot onto the bar as Eintracht briefly threatened, but the momentum was with Bayern now and Van Buyten expertly held off Mexican defender Aaron Galindo to meet Schweinsteiger’s inswinging corner and level the scores on the hour.

Goals 19 and 20 for Luca

The equaliser brought the game to life in a big way, Toni drawing a good save from Pröll and Amanatidis netting but being called back for offside after Rensing parried Markus Weissenberger’s skidding drive.

But the Italian was not to be denied for long, thumping home a loose ball from close range on 74 minutes for his 19th league goal of the campaign after Schweinsteiger’s determined scrap with two defenders on the edge of the six-yard box.

Jan Schlaudraff, a replacement for the tiring Ribery, kept the Frankfurt defence busy with a couple of darting runs, and Lahm also made a late appearance for the limping Sagnol. Schlaudraff, reported to be on his way out of the club at the end of the season, capped a fine cameo with a sprint and cross for Toni to lash home with five minutes remaining, crowning an excellent second half comeback by the champions-elect.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley