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Munich score first win of the year

9 February 2004

HAMBURG – Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich overcame a mini-crisis on Sunday with a 3-1 victory over Hanover 96 and with it returned to second place in the Bundesliga standings.

Playmaker Michael Ballack, Ze Roberto and Roy Makaay gave Munich their first win of the year following a meagre league draw in Frankfurt and a 2-1 cup defeat at second division Aachen.

Ballack opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a looping header off Ze Roberto’s cross.

Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn needed to be on his guard against Thomas Brdaric in the 18th and 20th as Munich were far from impressive.

But the hosts also had their chances for more goals, with Hanover’s Marc Ziegler as alert as Kahn against Willy Sagnol in the 48th and Ze Roberto in the 55th minute.

But the Brazilian winger Ze Roberto finally was on target in the 66th minute with a low shot from 12 metres to sooth Munich’s nerves.

Ballack was sent off ten minutes later for a second bookable offence but Munich were undeterred and got their third on 78 minutes from Makaay, the Dutch striker’s 12th goal so far.

Stanko Svitlica got a consolation goal in the 82nd minute for Hanover, who were also reduced to 10 men when Julian de Guzman got his marching orders in the last minute of regulation time.

“These three points are very good for our confidence. We could have scored even more goals,” said Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.

The result moves Munich onto 39 points, leapfrogging VfB Stuttgart, who had to swallow their third season defeat, a 1-0 loss at bottom club Hertha Berlin in the other Sunday game.

Germany striker Fredi Bobic’s glancing header off Marcelinho’s free kick with two minutes left allowed Hertha to draw even on 16 points with the other drop zone clubs Cologne and Eintracht Frankfurt.

Up front, Munich rank six points behind frontrunners Werder Bremen (45), who got a last-minute 2-1 victory at Borussia Moenchengladbach from Frank Baumann despite being reduced to 10 men when Mladen Krstajic was sent off earlier.

Sports director Klaus Allofs said that Bremen had the potential to win a fourth Bundesliga title, but Baumann remained cautious.

“We have set great goals for ourselves. But we must watch out and not become sloppy,” said the defender Baumann.

Stuttgart have 38 points and Bayer Leverkusen seem out of contention with 35 points following a 2-1 embarrassment at home against Frankfurt.

In other action Saturday, the 2002 champions Borussia Dortmund got their first victory since November 1, 4-2 at VfL Wolfsburg while Kaiserslautern left the relegation zone with a 1-0 victory over Cologne in the first game under new coach Kurt Jara.

Schalke 04 were held 0-0 by 1860 Munich, VfL Bochum continued their impressive season with a 1-1 draw at SV Hamburg and Hansa Rostock hammered Freiburg 4-1.

Subject: German news