Created on 03-04-2010 at 00:00 AM
Bayern showed fighting spirit and determination to go with their undoubted footballing quality on Saturday afternoon, playing more than half the match with ten men but still leapfrogging Schalke and returning to the top of the Bundesliga with a gritty victory in Gelsenkirchen.
The 61,673 full house at the Veltins Arena saw Franck Ribery and Thomas Müller smack two goals in a minute midway through the first half to put the men in red firmly in the driving seat, but Kevin Kuranyi pulled one back on the half-hour, and matters worsened for FCB five minutes from the break when Hamit Altintop was sent off after seeing a second yellow card.
The Bavarians set out their stall to protect the lead in the second half, and with Mark van Bommel a towering figure marshalling the disciplined rearguard, expertly restricted the Royal Blues to a handful of half-chances. Marcelo Bordon was dismissed for a second yellow right at the end as Bayern wrapped up a truly priceless victory, not only in terms of the title race, but also as a huge morale-booster ahead of Wednesday’s trip to face Manchester United.
The courageous win sees Bayern return to the top of the standings on 59 points from 29 games, one ahead of Schalke and now six clear of Leverkusen, who were beaten 3-2 in Frankfurt, and are Munich's next league opponents a week from now.