Football: Ribery wonder goal keeps Bayern on track

Ribery celebrates after his opening goal .
Ribery celebrates after his opening goal .PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (AFP) - Franck Ribery’s spectacular bicycle kick sealed Bayern Munich’s 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday as the Bundesliga leaders warmed-up for their Champions League quarter-final, first leg against Benfica.

The 32-year-old Ribery rolled back the years by drilling his overhead kick into the top corner of the Frankfurt net with 20 minutes gone at Munich’s Allianz Arena.

It was the French winger’s 70th league goal for Bayern and came after Bayern’s Germany midfielder Mario Goetze had his shot blocked.

But Pep Guardiola is hoping for an improved performance against Benfica from his side after Bayern peppered the Frankfurt goal with 21 shots.

“It’s always a bit complicated coming back after the international break. We started well, the first 25 minutes were the best, especially Franck’s crazy goal,” said Bayern coach Guardiola.

“After that our last pass was not precise and in the closing stages, the players lost their concentration.

“Now we are focusing on Benfica and I am hoping for a better team performance.” Bayern claimed a league record with their eighth straight clean sheet against Eintracht Frankfurt – no other club has managed the feat as many times in a row against the same opposition.

Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski, the league’s top scorer, had a quiet afternoon, failing to add to his tally of 25 Bundesliga goals this season and came off with 19 minutes to go.

Frankfurt, who are second from bottom, gave Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who missed Germany’s win over Italy with illness on Tuesday, an easy afternoon with just four shots on goal.

The Bavarians remain on track to become the first German club to win four straight Bundesliga titles.

Bayern host Benfica on Tuesday and took the chance to go eight points clear in Germany’s top flight with second-placed Borussia Dortmund at home to Werder Bremen later.

Bremen, who are battling relegation, will be without their top scorer Claudio Pizarro after the Peru international picked up an injury during a World Cup qualifier in Uruguay.

South Korea international Koo Ja-Cheol netted for relegation-threatened Augsburg, but could not prevent his club losing 4-2 at Mainz.

Argentinian forward Pablo De Blasis and Christian Clemens both scored twice for Mainz at the Coface Arena as the result bumped the hosts up to fifth.

Augsburg are only clear of the relegation places on goal difference and are level on 27 points with Frankfurt and Hoffenheim, who host Cologne on Sunday.

Bottom side Hanover 96 remain ten points from safety with six league games left after going down 3-0 at home to Hamburg.

Schalke dropped to sixth, and risk losing their Europa League place for next season, after their 3-0 drubbing at Ingolstadt.

Ingolstadt’s Paraguay striker Dario Lezcano won a penalty and scored their third as the Royal Blues were humbled in Bavaria.

Darmstadt pulled themselves two points away from the relegation battle with a 2-2 draw at home to Stuttgart.

Sandro Wagner and Peter Niemeyer’s goals for Darmstadt were cancelled out by first-half efforts from Stuttgart’s Christian Gentner and Lukas Rupp.

On Friday, Wolfsburg were hammered 3-0 at Bayer Leverkusen in a poor build-up to Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final, first leg at home to Real Madrid.

On Sunday, third-placed Hertha Berlin have a tough away match at Borussia Moenchengladbach.