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Klinsmann delight as below-par Bayern close gap

SoccerNews in Bundesliga 22 Mar 2009

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Bayern Munich boss Jurgen Klinsmann was delighted the defending Bundesliga champions ground out a 1-0 win over Karlsruhe to narrow the gap on leaders Hertha Berlin to just a point.

“The three points were what mattered,” said Klinsmann despite his side’s average performance as a single first-half strike from Argentina striker Jose Sosa gave Bayern the three points.

With leaders Hertha Berlin losing 2-0 in Stuttgart, both Bayern and third-placed Wolfsburg are now only a point off the top, but Munich’s performance at their Allianz Arena against rock-bottom Karlsruhe was far from impressive.

“We?ve won the way Hertha have won seven or eight times this season, which is OK from time to time,” added Klinsmann.

“Especially in the second half, it didn?t go the way we wanted it to. We were too hurried, Karlsruhe fought back and made chances.

“We failed to wrap it up in the first half. Nevertheless, we?re satisfied enough. It?s good we?re only a point behind Berlin.

“The players are allowed an occasional off day.”

With Bayern facing Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals next month, captain Mark van Bommel was also demanding more from his side.

“There?s nothing much to say. We played badly, but won,” said Bayern’s Dutch skipper who signed a year’s extension to his contract in midweek.

“It was OK to start with and we scored the goal. But otherwise, we?re all aware it wasn?t great. At this stage of the season, these are the games you have to win, and we?ve gone out and won.

“There are three points at stake, we?ve taken them, and that?s all that matters.”

League leaders Hertha Berlin let their four-point lead slip to just a single point as they were beaten 2-0 at VfB Stuttgart.

“It was a very good game,” said delighted Stuttgart coach Markus Babbel.

“The team responded well to the 4-0 defeat by Werder Bremen the week before and rose to the challenge. They corrected a lot of mistakes and I am very happy.”

With both Bayern and third-placed Wolfsburg hard on his side’s heels, Hertha coach Lucien Favre was critical of his side’s performance after losing captain Arne Friedrich with a first-half thigh injury.

“Stuttgart were clearly better,” said the Swiss coach. “We saw two different teams, one played very well, the other one badly.

“If the team doesn’t function properly you will concede goals. We had a bad game and sometimes you have to accept that as a coach.”

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