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2.27.2006

Ballack scores twice in Bayern's Victory

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After a sad Champions League home draw against AC Milan, Bayern Munich got their smile back by crushing Eintracht Frankfurt 5-2 on Saturday.

Michael Ballack and Peruvian forward Paolo Guerrero scored two each while Claudio Pizarro added a fifth five minutes from time to hand Bayern their 11th successive Bundesliga home win at their Allianz Arena this season.

In fact, Bayern lead the standings with 58 points from 23 matches. Werder Bremen, who beat Juventus 3-2 in the Champions League on Wednesday, moved into second place, nine points behind Bayern, with a 2-0 home win over Borussia Moenchengladbach.

"This was the kind of reaction we needed," said Bayern coach Felix Magath, still angered by Tuesday's 1-1 draw with AC Milan when a second half penalty after a controversial handball gave the Italians a valuable away goal in the knockout round clash.

"We moved the ball forward and got some goals," added Magath, pleased by his team's best league performance this season. "It's great. I'm delighted to see us scoring like that. The home crowd deserved to see a few goals here too."

Magath was surprisingly unperturbed by the two goals conceded to 12th placed Frankfurt, who lost their third straight match. Bayern's reserve keeper Michael Rensing again filled in for injured captain Oliver Kahn, who missed the Milan match.

"We were a little careless at times in defence but that's allowable after a week like we've just had," Magath admitted.

Paolo Guerrero, in the starting lineup for Roy Makaay, scored two first-half goals while Ballack, giving another strong performance while wearing the captain's armband as deuputy for Kahn, scored in the 33rd and 62nd minutes.

"Roy needed a break," said Magath. "Guerrero deserved a chance to play. He had a first-class performance and showed that we can put him in any time. He really caught our eye today."

Frankfurt's Christoph Preuss beat Sebastian Deisler and Willy Sagnol in front of the goal in the 32nd minute to equalise but they less than a minute later Ballack found an opening on the right to put Bayern ahead again for good.

Ballack's 11th and 12th league goals this season capped an outstanding week after he scored Bayern's late goal in the 1-1 draw at Hanover last week and a stunning half-volley in the draw with Milan, his first goal in the Champions League this term.

"It was very hard to concentrate on the Bundesliga after the Champions League but the team nevertheless brought a great attitude in here and we played very aggressively," said Ballack.

"Everything's going great at the moment," he added. "We've kept our cushion at the top of the table and want to advance to the next round in the Champions League."

Frankfurt's Alexander Meier cut Bayern's lead to 4-2 in the 84th minute before Pizarro responded a minute later.

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