Niko Kovac hails 'sensational' performance as Bayern Munich cut gap to Borussia Dortmund

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Bayern Munich ran out 3-1 winners against Hoffenheim.

Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac was full of praise for his side’s “sensational” first-half performance as they closed the gap with table-toppers Borussia Dortmund to three points following a 3-1 win at Hoffenheim.

A first-half Leon Goretzka brace set up Bayern’s first victory away at Hoffenheim since August 2015.

Nico Schulz expertly pulled one back for the home side, nodding past a defender to set up a shot which he fired past Manuel Neuer from outside the penalty area.

However, Bayern’s two-goal lead was restored by Robert Lewandowski three minutes from time with the Poland international striker slotting in Thomas Muller’s cross to record his 11th goal of the season.

Speaking about his side’s performance, Kovac told the club’s official website: “The first half was sensational. That’s what we can do.

“The result is good, we started well from the back and have built up pressure.”

The Bayern head coach also set his sights on toppling Dortmund at the end of the season, he added: “We are the pursuers and want to hunt down BVB. The key is that we end up at the top.”

Goretzka echoed his coach on the title race, adding: “We played in the first half of the season so that we were six points behind. Now we are the hunters.

“All in all, we delivered a good fight. In the first half it was a great game from us,” the two-goal midfielder added.

“Things got a bit hectic in the second half but when we completed the counter attack (for the third goal), the game was decided.

“We wanted to start well in the second half and it was important to play a good game.”

Hoffenheim head coach Julian Nagelsmann admitted the Bavarian side deserved to win and was critical of his side’s first-half performance.

“The first half was scary of us, the second was good. In the first half we were weak and anxious, hiding a lot and showing little aggressiveness,” he said.

“Defensively we had little courage. We changed over during the break. We can be satisfied with the second half. In the end, Bayern deserved to win.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Galatasaray hope to tempt Franck Ribery back when he makes Bayern Munich exit

David Cooper 24/12/2018
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Galatasaray are looking to go back to the future in their hunt to land attacking reinforcements and want to snap up Franck Ribery from Bayern Munich, according to reports.

Ribery, 35 spent the second half of 2004/05 at the Turkish giants, scoring once in 17 appearances. He would then become a legend at Bayern, scoring 122 times in 409 matches since joining from Marseille in 2007.

His deal at Allianz Arena expires next summer and the ex-France winger has played coy about remaining.

Fanatik have stated that Gala want to tempt Ribery back to Istanbul on a one-and-a-half-year contract in the winter transfer window. This scenario, however, is not likely to tempt Bayern.

Gala currently sit a disappointing fifth in the Super Lig.

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Niko Kovac pleased with improving Bayern Munich as champions record fifth successive win

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Niko Kovac

Niko Kovac hailed Bayern Munich‘s 3-0 victory at Eintracht Frankfurt as they closed the gap to Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund back to six points.

Bayern moved into the top two after finishing the year with a fifth successive league win, Franck Ribery’s brace and Rafinha’s lucky finish late on securing the points in Frankfurt despite the hosts threatening throughout.

Frankfurt were well on top early on with Luka Jovic, Sebastien Haller and Danny Da Costa spurning great chances before the visitors finally grew into the match, with Ribery finishing a great team move to break the deadlock 10 minutes before half-time.

Ribery doubled his and the Bavarian’s side account with 11 remaining before Rafinha added gloss to the scoreline when his right-wing cross looped over goalkeeper Kevin Trapp and into the net.

And Kovac was complimentary of his side’s recovery after the sluggish start.

He told fcbayern.com: “Apart from the first 20 minutes we turned in a really good display. We didn’t disrupt their counters and made a few mistakes at first, but then we put into practice what we had planned.

“Our passing play was quick, with few touches of the ball so that our opponents couldn’t press us. Our last few matches were very good, that’s what marks FC Bayern out.”

Bayern’s win keeps them within touching distance of Dortmund and forward Thomas Muller, who was denied by a superb Trapp save and also hit the crossbar, is looking ahead with optimism as they chase a seventh successive league crown.

Thomas Muller

Thomas Muller

“We had slight problems in the first quarter-hour, then we created good chances,” Muller said.

“Frankfurt had one or two shots. We were out of luck when I hit the crossbar, unfortunately I couldn’t connect any better.

“We put up a fight and had good moves. It’s not easy to win 3-0 in this atmosphere in Frankfurt, it boosts our confidence for the second half of the season.”

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