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Friday, Aug. 1, 2008

German power Bayern Munich post impressive victory over Reds


Staff writer

SAITAMA — Bayern Munich put a listless Urawa Reds side to the sword with a comprehensive 4-2 win in a Thursday night friendly match.

News photo
Hat trick: Bayern Munich forward Lukas Podolski scores his third goal of the match and the fourth by the German League side in the 62nd minutes of an international exhibition match against Urawa Reds at Saitama Stadium 2002 on Thursday. Bayern won 4-2. KYODO PHOTO

The German champion, fielding a full-strength lineup missing only Franck Ribery and Luca Toni, was too quick in thought and deed for Reds, who were jolted into life only after two goals from Lukas Podolski and one from Miroslav Klose gave Bayern a 3-0 first-half lead.

Marcus Tulio Tanaka appeared after the interval to inject some hunger into Reds, and Tsukasa Umesaki pulled one back for the home side only to see Podolski complete his hat-trick minutes later.

Yuki Abe scored a brilliant overhead kick to give the final scoreline a more respectable slant, but by then the prospect of a comeback looked too much to ask of an Urawa side deep into a grueling season.

Bayern manager Jurgen Klinsmann, however, was satisfied with the workout ahead of his first Bundesliga campaign in charge of the Bavarian powerhouse.

"It was a good game for us with not so much heavy contact," he said.

"It was a great stadium to play in and it was a fantastic experience for us.

"It is still a little difficult to get fitness levels up and we are working on that. We had players coming back in three stages from the Euros and South American games.

"Now we are OK with how things are going, but because of the timing it makes things complicated."

Ze Roberto, Podolski and Bastian Schweinsteiger all went close for Bayern in the first five minutes, and until Keita Suzuki began to get to grips with the midfield traffic, it seemed the visitors had carte blanche to treat the match like a training session.

But just as it looked like Reds might make a game of it, Keisuke Tsuboi handed Munich the opener.

A nice passing move on the edge of the penalty area found its way to Ze Roberto, who threaded the ball through to the lurking Klose. Tsuboi completely failed to intercept, and the 2006 World Cup top-scorer did not need to be asked twice to take his chance.

Minutes later, Podolski doubled Bayern's lead. Schweinsteiger chipped the ball into the box, and with Reds goalkeeper Ryota Tsuzuki flailing off his line, Podolski got the slightest of touches to prod it into the net.

With Bayern looking sharp and purposeful in stark contrast to the lead-footed Urawa players, the match threatened to turn into a whitewash.

Edmilson hit a shot from a very ambitious distance and Umesaki skimmed a free-kick over the bar as Reds tried to stem the tide, but in reality Urawa's resurgence owed a great deal to the visitors taking their foot off the gas.

Schweinsteiger curled a shot past the post as Bayern switched gears again, and Podolski blasted in his second after Klose released him with a neat pass minutes before halftime.

Tulio's appearance after the break seemed to have a galvanizing effect on his teammates, and after Suzuki picked out Takahito Soma on the wing, the fullback burst through two Bayern defenders to square the ball for the waiting Umesaki to pull one back for Urawa.

But the fightback was short-lived, and after a scramble in the box, Ze Roberto teed up Podolski to volley in for his third of the night.

A rash of substitutions killed the flow of the match with the visitors easing down toward the final whistle, but Urawa turned up the pace for one final push, and Abe restored some pride with his final, and spectacular, contribution.



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