Bayern Outgun Leverkusen, Only Hoffenheim in the Way | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 30.11.2008
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Bayern Outgun Leverkusen, Only Hoffenheim in the Way

After a win at Leverusen, Bayern Munich are now on the heels of Bundesliga leaders Hoffenheim, who they'll face later this week.

Munich's Luca Toni celebrates after scoring during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich in Leverkusen on Saturday, Nov, 29 2008

Bayern's Toni broke the draw with a score in the 59th minute

Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose gave Bayern Munich a 2-0 win at Bayer Leverkusen as the German champions moved second behind Bundesliga leaders Hoffenheim who downed Arminia Bielefeld 3-0 on Saturday, Nov. 29.

Toni ended the deadlock in the day's top match in Leverkusen when Ze Roberto's cross from the left found the Italian striker with space in front of goal to head home in the 59th minute.

Klose finished the game off with a strike from the edge of the box with eight minutes remaining after a pass from Franck Ribery.

League top scorer Vedad Ibisevic meanwhile increased his tally to 17 with a fifth-minute goal, Carlos Eduardo added a second with a solo run six minutes later and Francisco Copado scored an 89th-minute penalty as promoted Hoffenheim overcame Bielefeld.

Bayern to challenge Hoffenheim

It was the eighth victory in nine games for Ralf Rangnick's side who now have 34 points from 15 matches, three more than Bayern going into next Friday's match between the two sides in Munich.

Munich soccer coach Juergen Klinsmann

Klinsmann said Bayern's class was coming out

With Bayern -- after a slow start to the season -- now nine league games without a defeat, the visit of Hoffenheim will be an eagerly awaited duel between the two form teams of the league.

"We have a lot of respect for Hoffenheim. It's a great story what's happened there in the last few months but we want to get to the top and we are pleased they are now coming to Munich... I am looking forward to the game," Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann told Premiere television.

Ribery shines in red and pink

Hertha Berlin, who defeated Cologne 2-1 on Friday evening, are now third on 30, with Leverkusen slipping to fourth on 28. Leverkusen had slightly the better of the opening exchanges against Bayern with Patrick Helmes seeing a shot tipped over the bar by Michael Rensing, before Henrique headed against the bar from a corner.

However Bayern also threatened, and Rene Adler in goal twice had to save long-range efforts from Bastian Schweinsteiger, who also saw a shot flash narrowly wide of the post before the break.

Neither side looked like scoring until Toni rose to head in Ze Robert's cross for a goal which heralded a more controlled spell for Klinsmann's side.

France midfielder Ribery -- wearing red gloves and pink boots -- was again the outstanding figure, coming close to a goal with a shot saved by Adler after he had dribbled round four players. Instead, with Bayern now fully in charge, he was the provider when he collected the ball in midfield and cleverly threaded the ball through for Klose whose low shot beat Adler into the corner.

A cross from Tranquillo Barnetta which came off the top of the bar two minutes from time was the nearest Leverkusen came to a goal.

Andreas Ibertsberger, 2nd left and Matthias Jaissle, right, from Hoffenheim, and Ivica Olic, left, and Mladen Petric, 2nd right, from Hamburg, challenge for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between 1899 Hoffenheim and Hamburger SV in Mannheim, southwestern Germany, on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008

Hoffenheim will have to defend their lead

Klinsmann said Bayern's class was beginning to shine through as the season progressed.

Bayern improving, says coach Klinsi

"The boys are enjoying their football and the team is now in a position to control a game. We were in complete control in the second half and it was only a matter of time before we scored."

Leverkusen coach Bruno Labbadia said: "We started the first 25 minutes as we wanted to and were in control, but then we were pushed back too deep. We couldn't get the ball forward precisely enough and Bayern deserved to win."

Elsewhere, Claudio Pizarro scored a hat-trick, Diego converted a penalty and Aaron Hunt was also on target as Werder Bremen ran out 5-0 winners over visiting Eintracht Frankfurt.

Mike Hanke bagged a brace and Mikael Forssell added a third just before the break as Hanover raced into a 3-0 lead over Karlsruhe. But the home side were left hanging on after a penalty shortly after the interval from Antonio da Silva and a late goal from Lars Stindl reduced the deficit to 3-2.

Energie Cottbus moved off the bottom -- leaving Karlsruhe last -- with a 3-1 win at fellow strugglers Borussia Moenchengladbach.

In matches Sunday, Stuttgart play Schalke 04, Borussia Dortmund face Wolfsburg and fifth-placed SV Hamburg travel to Bochum.

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