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Ribery Bags Two as Bayern Smashes Schalke (w/ Video)

FC Bayern finally got back on track today, as Franck Ribery led a solid all-around performance as Bayern won by a 2-0 score-line. Finally back in front of the home crowd, Bayern looked like the better side and broke through with 10 minutes to go in the first half. From that point forward, there were one or two defensive breakdowns that led to Schalekc ahnces, but Bayern had a majority of the ball and finally put it away with another Ribery goal in the 2nd half.

Although he was uninspired and spurned a few good chances in the Basel match, Ribery answered the bell today.  Even before he broke through with the goal, he had a few threatening runs forward, with Lahm also looking dangerous down that left flank.  Robben also created space and had a threatening shot, and if it weren't for several nice saves from Timo Hildebrand, this one could have been over at halftime.  I think I counted 5 solid chances that could have been goals for Bayern in the first half: two in a row on the play when Hildebrand saved both, one where Badstuber couldn't control a tap in right on the front of the goal, one where Robben had a chance from the right and blasted wide, and the one where Ribery actually scored.  I'll have to look at the footage to see what the difference was between this and the Schalke match, but off the top of my head: (1) we made a few good overlapping / back-lapping runs that forced the defender to choose which was he was going to go, rather than letting him retreat and force the dribbler to make a decision, and (2) Mueller, although he had one play where he might have had a good shot if he'd controlled the ball better, definitely looks more comfortably playing in the box (or at least right on the edge of it), whereas Kroos - who has some useful skills, depending upon the circumstance - doesn't usually venture within 15 yards of the goal.

Defensively, there was really only one play where Schalke had my heart in my throat - you know the one, where someone (Matip? Farfan?) loitered in the middle of the field until both defenders collapsed on the ball, then sprinted forward into the through ball.  It looked like he just blew the shot, but actually, on the replay, I think Neuer did a good job of not giving him much to shoot at.

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