Bayern Munich secured the top spot in Group F after a spectacular 3-2 win in Lyon, who qualify in second. The German side stormed to a 3-0 lead, before the home team staged a brave comeback in the second half, falling just short of a draw.
AFP - A Franck Ribery-inspired 3-2 victory at Lyon on Wednesday night shot Bayern Munich to the top of their Champions League group in rainy conditions in France.
Bayern's pole position in Group F meant they are assured of playing a second-placed team in the February/March first knockout round, whose draw is on December 19, and of having the advantage of having the second leg at home.
Ribery's swashbuckling attacking performance left Lyon bereft of ideas. The Frenchman was involved in all three of Bayern's goals, scoring the second, while Miroslav Klose's brace left him with five in the competition this season and 21 career strikes in Europe.
Sidney Govou and Karim Benzema earned consolation goals for Lyon and Claude Puel's men at least knew they had already qualified for the next stage.
Bayern coach Jurgen Klinsmann was without injured Brazilian defenders Ze Roberto and Lucio but his fielding of Ribery and Tim Borowski on the left, whose link play with Klose was impressive, had a big impact.
Puel fielded Anthony Mounier instead of Fred and star striker Karim Benzema started as a classic centre forward. Calf-victim John Mensah was fit enough to start at centre back, meaning Jeremy Toulalan stayed in his usual defensive midfield role.
Combative tackles and the game played at a fast pace early on was curious given that little was riding on the match, though it made for compelling action.
Klose easily put Bayern ahead on 11 minutes. Hesitancy in the Lyon back line meant Toulalan and Jean II Makoun failed to clear and battling Ribery, surrounded by yellow shirts, got the ball to Klose who found the net from six metres.
A minute later, Benzema fired a left foot shot just wide of keeper Michael Rensing's right hand post.
Ribery got on the scoresheet himself in the 34th minute with more fighting play down the left flank. A defence-splitting pass from Luca Toni found Ribery and, without breaking stride, he ran into the box and shot fiercely across Hugo Lloris's goal with the ball going just inside his left hand post.
Three minutes later, Bayern were three goals ahead. Profiting from a neat Bastian Schweinsteiger backheel, Ribery floated the ball over from the left to Klose, whose mishit shot at the far post bounced over the head of Lloris and into the net.
Sidney Govou showed spirit to have his shot blocked, then made a tackle, before eventually firing home in the 52nd minute, and Benzema hit a second for Lyon on 68 minutes.
Brazilian Fred and Swede Kim Kallstrom came on in the second half as Puel shuffled the pack in an attempt to get back on terms but even a third goal would not have been enough to earn top spot in the pool.
Date created : 2008-12-10