Allianz Arena, November 14 - A Mario Gomez brace and the long-awaited return of Franck Ribéry were the main talking points as Bayern Munich moved up to sixth place in the Bundesliga with a comfortable 3-0 victory in Sunday evening's Bavarian derby against Nuremberg.
The defending Bundesliga champions hadn't succumbed at home to their local rivals since 1992 and that record was never at risk once the deadlock was broken on ten minutes. Croatian Danijel Pranjic jinked through the visitors' jittery backline to set up a simple tap-in for the in-form Gomez. The German international striker is suddenly enjoying a new lease of life after being written off by many pundits.
There was no way back for the visitors when Philipp Lahm, celebrating his 150th Bundesliga appearance for Bayern, doubled the lead after 57 minutes. Captain Lahm calmly slotted in a penalty after Nuremberg's keeper Raphael Schäfer had hacked down Gomez.
Goal-machine Gomez sealed victory with a 75th-minute header from Ribéry's in-swinging corner. In fact, 'Super Mario' should have notched his second league hat-trick of the season but blazed a late penalty high into the Bavarian night sky. "I knew where I wanted to shoot the ball, I really wanted it and I was so confident the penalty would work out. I am really angry with myself," said Gomez. Bizarrely, this was Bayern's fifth penalty miss in the team's last eight attempts.
The visitors, roared on by 7000 travelling Franconians, lacked the killer touch in front of goal to trouble their more illustrious 'local' rivals. Julian Schieber wasted Nuremberg's best chance, firing over just after the break. To add to the visitors' woes, Nuremberg's defender Javier Pinola will surely face disciplinary action after spitting at Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Coach Louis van Gaal will be relieved to see his lengthy injury list finally showing signs of abating. Fit-again Ribéry showed an abundance of 'joie de vivre' during a brilliant 20 minute cameo, which bodes well for more testing fixtures in the coming weeks. And Brazilian defender Breno (21) looked most assured when he entered the fray as a second-half substitute for Argentinian Martin Demichelis. At times Bayern still look vulnerable at the back with Daniel van Buyten looking cumbersome - possessing the turning circle of a Belgian barge-liner.
Despite winning at a canter, the Double winners still trail runaway Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund (10 wins in 12 games) by a daunting twelve points and face a tricky trip to second placed Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday. One for those statistically inclined - never in Bundesliga history has a side overcome a twelve point deficit to win the title.