Bayern Don't Fear the Reeperbahn Visitors

Allianz Arena, Munich, December 11 - In very few 'reputable' professional leagues could any side trail the leaders (approaching halfway through the season) by SEVENTEEN points and still entertain thoughts of winning the title. Whatever the validity of such 'thinking', this still remains a feasible scenario at FC Bayern - albeit a vague one. For some this typifies why non-believers have christened their home stadium the 'Arrogance Arena'.

Saturday's routine 3-0 victory against cult-club St. Pauli was a fifth straight league win at the Allianz Arena. In each of these comfortable wins the double winners have scored at least three goals.

Altintop put Bayern ahead.Turkish international Hamit Altintop fired the champions ahead on 16 minutes with an unstoppable shot from just outside the box.

The visitors from Hamburg's famous red light district were left to rue their wastefulness in front of goal. Journeyman striker Marius Ebbers was the guiltiest party, missing gilt-edged scoring chances in each half.

The home side were not at their best in Dutch coach's Louis van Gaal's 50th Bundesliga game in charge of Bayern.

Thomas Müller, FIFA's Young Player of the 2010 World Cup, deputised for the flu-ridden top scorer Mario Gomez up front. The German international should have doubled the lead after the interval, striking a post on 51 minutes and just three minutes later deliberating too long and his tame shot was easily blocked by the St. Pauli keeper Thomas Kessler.

On 67 minutes, Müller was through again with just the keeper to beat. This time Kessler scythed him down in the box, and the referee had no option but to award a penalty. Kessler was also given his marching orders for a professional foul.

Despite a five minute delay as replacement goalkeeper Mathias Hain got himself ready, German captain Philipp Lahm coolly dispatched the penalty into the right-hand corner of the net.

French diva Franck Ribéry sealed the convincing win, which moves Bayern back up to 5th spot, with his first league goal of the season on 79 minutes.

There was further Christmas cheer for the Bayern faithful when their world-class midfielder, Bastian Schweinsteiger, announced over the stadium microphone, that he had signed a contract extension until 2016.

Schweinsteiger declared to the fans: "I've extended my contract for you. Long live Bayern!"  The Bavarian native joined the club in 1998 and has won the domestic league and cup double five times. He also played in the 2010 Champions League final defeat against Inter Milan.


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