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Hamburg Expose Bayern Frailties as Champions Fall

Bayern Munich's dream of a grand start out of the German football winter break lasted only 72 hours as SV Hamburg exposed that they are only human after all.

Mladen Petric scores for Hamburg against Bayern

Mladen Petric scores for Hamburg against Bayern to send his team top

Bayern Munich's dream of a grand start out of the German football winter break lasted only 72 hours as SV Hamburg exposed that they are only human after all.

Munich appeared superhuman in a 5-1 cup rout on Tuesday at VfB Stuttgart, but all their ambitions froze on a cold Friday when they were beaten 1-0 by Hamburg in the Bundesliga restart.

Mladen Petric's winner shortly before halftime made sure that Hamburg and not Munich moved to the top of the standings (at least until later Saturday) to the delight of the 57,000-strong crowd.

Instead of starting a planned winning streak to take the league by storm Munich's inconsistency prevailed in their third season defeat.

"Everyone believed that no one could stop them, but then came Hamburg," said the Bild daily on Saturday. "Petric punishes stupid Bayern. My God, what chances did the record champions waste last night."

Bayern's expensive stars out of sorts

Munich soccer player Luca Toni

Luca Toni had a frustrating time in front of goal Friday

The reigning champions Munich were lethargic in the first half and then unable to find the net, with Luca Toni even missing from point blank range.

Bayern complained that Toni's first half goal should have not been disallowed for an alleged push of Bastian Reinhardt. But Bayern were also lucky when Petric and Piotr Trochowski were denied by the post.

"We are angry and disappointed because we go home empty-handed. We wasted too many chances," said Munich coach Juergen Klinsmann.

Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: "Maybe we thought after the good game (in Stuttgart) that we would only require a half-hearted effort. But you can't afford that against any team, and definitely not against Hamburg."

While Toni was the man to blame up front it took French star Franck Ribery a long time to show his class as well.

Ribery was accused of arrogance when he chipped a penalty right into the arms of goalkeeper Jens Lehmann in the cup match and on Friday former Munich great Mehmet Scholl, speaking on ARD television, bluntly told the Frenchman to get his own act together instead of calling for the signing of new players.

"He shouldn't forget where he was two years ago. He was playing in the middle of nowhere at Marseille," said Scholl.

Title race blown open by Munich loss

Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery

Ribery needs to rediscover his form and desire in the run-in

Nothing is lost for Munich in a close title race which also features hibernation period leaders TSG Hoffenheim, Bayer Leverkusen and possibly Hertha Berlin.

But failing to impress the rivals early on will hurt the success-hungry top club. Their inability to find the net even generated another title rival in Hamburg, whose coach Martin Jol delighted in an "incredible game."

"Hamburg are in the title race since tonight," said Rummenigge.

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