Created on 10-05-2008 at 00:00 AM
Bayern dominated for long spells but ultimately made heavy weather of the victory which condemned Duisburg to second division football next term.
The 31,500 capacity crowd at the superbly appointed MSV Arena was stunned into silence as the visitors raced into a 3-0 lead after just 20 minutes, an Andreas Ottl drive and a quick-fire Lukas Podolski brace ensuring the champions had a comfortable ride through to the break.
However, the match took a sudden and dramatic twist in the ten minutes following the restart as Mihai Tararache and Markus Daun hauled the Zebras right back into it, and an upset briefly appeared a possibility. But the Duisburg storm blew itself out and the Bavarians should really have won by a much higher margin as a string of chances went begging towards the end.
First start for Schlaudraff
In his penultimate match as a Bundesliga coach, Ottmar Hitzfeld made six changes to the team which beat Bielefeld in midweek. Willy Sagnol, Martin Demichelis and Marcell Jansen came into the back four in place of Christian Lell, Lucio und Philipp Lahm.
Further forward, Ottl deputised in defensive midfield for Zé Roberto, Bastian Schweinsteiger took over the creative duties from Franck Ribery, and Hanover-bound Jan Schlaudraff finally made a first start for Munich in place of the injured Luca Toni.
Andi on target
After referee Michael Weiner whistled the match underway on a glorious early summer afternoon with the temperature nudging 30 degrees, Bayern wasted no time in stamping their authority on the game and took the lead after just three minutes.
Schweinsteiger ambled into acres of space on the left before centring, where Tararache's weak defensive header landed perfectly for Ottl to stride two steps forward before placing a 20-yard drive past MSV keeper Tom Starke's despairing dive.
The relegation-haunted home side spurned a golden opportunity to level after six minutes when Tararache raced clear onto Maicon's defence-splitting pass, but Sagnol did enough to force the MSV midfielder into a scuffed effort wide of the target.
The seemingly doomed Zebras were made to rue that miss after 18 minutes when the criminally unmarked Podolski rose to nod home Van Bommel's right-wing cross and double the advantage, and the champions rubbed in their superiority just 120 seconds later when the Germany striker doubled his personal tally with a rifled left-foot shot after Starke could only push away Jose Sosa's angled effort.
Bayern now shifted down through the gears as the shocked home team struggled for a response. Jansen was through on the half-hour but failed to spot Schlaudraff lurking at the far post, Björn Schlicke blasted a free-kick wide of Olli Kahn's goal, and the giant keeper was finally forced into a save from Olivier Veigneau's daisy-cutter after fully 44 minutes.
The match which appeared to have run its course took a dramatic twist in the opening spell after the restart, Tararache belting a 25-yard drive past the unsighted Kahn on 48 minutes and Daun's thrust ending in an apologetic deflected lob over the Bayern keeper to further reduce the arrears six minutes later.
Reds heed wake-up call
But Munich responded to the wake-up call with a much tighter display after that. Starke had made a stunning save to deny Schlaudraff after an almighty scramble in between Duisburg's goals, and the home keeper reacted superbly to shots from Schweinsteiger and Podolski as the men in red reasserted command with twenty minutes to play.
Ze replaced Van Bommel and Toni Kroos took over from Schlaudraff for the closing stages as the action switched from end to end, although the heat of the day had taken its toll and MSV in particular were unable to muster much by way of chances.
A desperate lunge prevented Podolski from completing a hat-trick, Sosa contrived an astonishing miss in front of an open goal from only five yards out and Starke again saved well from Kroos as the champions safely saw out the remaining minutes, while results elsewhere left the Zebras with nothing left but to contemplate life in the second division next season.
Chris Hamley reporting from the MSV Arena for fcbayern.de