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Bayern cruises to 2-1 victory

December 12, 2005 11:00 IST

Oliver Kahn stopped a second-half Kaiserslautern penalty after goals from Michael Ballack and Roy Makaay gave Bayern Munich a 2-1 win on Sunday.

The result also handed Bayern the honorary distinction of winning the first half of the season a week before the winter break.

With 41 points from 16 matches, Bayern reopened a four-point cushion over Hamburg SV.

Hamburg, the only team to beat Bayern this season, had moved to within a point with a 2-1 win over Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

Kahn, in a tense battle with Arsenal's Jens Lehmann to win Germany's goalkeeping job for the 2006 World Cup, dived to his right and deflected Ervin Skela's penalty away in the 59th minute after Philipp Lahm had tackled Halil Altintop in the box.

"I had a feeling he would go for that corner and it was a bit of luck that it all worked out the way it did," Kahn said.

"Actually, it was only their second shot on goal and the first went in so the 50-percent quota wasn't really that good at all."

It was the first penalty Kahn had stopped in two years. He failed to hold the last 11 dating back to Oct. 25, 2003 when he blocked another Kaiserslautern penalty, from Miroslav Klose.

Ballack was unmarked in front of the goal in the 26th minute to open the scoring off a Ali Karimi corner. Kaiserslautern's Ivory Coast striker Boubacar Sanogo then found a hole in Bayern's defence to slam a shot past Kahn 13 minutes later.

Ending a long scoring drought, Bayern striker Roy Makaay put the home side back ahead in the 54th minute with a penalty before Kahn's heroics five minutes later gave Bayern their eighth Bundesliga win in eight matches at home this season.

"Not scoring the penalty was the turning point," said Kaiserslautern coach Wolfgang Wolf, whose team are at the bottom of the table in 18th place.

"I think if we had equalised there anything could have happened."

But Bayern coach Felix Magath said his team would have won the match, and the fall championship that has more often than not been an accurate precursor of the full season title winner, even if Kaiserslautern had equalised.

Bayern have won the "fall championship" 14 times -- and went on to win the championship in 12 of those campaigns.

"I think we'd have been able to raise the pressure again even if they had scored the penalty," Magath said. "I wasn't worried at all. We played very well until our first goal.

"But it's understandable that the team wanted to shift down a gear at this point late in the first half of the season and save their energy," Magath said.

Bayern have not been convincing in recent games. They were lucky to grab 2-1 wins over Arminia Bielefeld and Mainz and then had to hang on for a goalless draw with VfB Stuttgart.

On Wednesday they drew 1-1 with Club Bruges in the Champions League having already qualified for the knockout phase.

In Sunday's other match, Werder Bremen strengthened their hold on third place with a 4-1 win over Cologne. Bremen have 35 points, two behind Hamburg.
Erik Kirschbaum
Source: source
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