MUNICH // Bayern Munich returned triumphantly to the Champions League on Tuesday, recording a 1-0 win at Steaua Bucharest after enduring the ignimony of playing in the the Uefa Cup last season. But, upon resuming domestic affairs, they found themselves on the end of a 5-2 mauling at home by fellow Champions League hopefuls Werder Bremen.
It was a swift reminder to Jurgen Klinsmann and his team that they still have a way to go to regain the stature of great Bayern sides of the past. Klinsmann was gracious after the thrashing at the hands of Bremen, his first defeat since taking over in the summer. Bremen ran riot at the Allianz Arena to leapfrog the Bavarians in the Bundesliga table and end the champions' three-game unbeaten run. Klinsmann could not complain about Bayern's first home loss since losing 2-0 in the quarter- finals of the Champions League to AC Milan in April 2007.
"We have got to admit that Bremen were better than us today," he said. "They took their chances ruthlessly and whenever we seemed to be close to getting back into the game, they struck again. It obviously hurts, but the team are self-critical enough to deal with a defeat and now we have got to look forward. "This is the way football is. We are down on the ground but we will get up again." Bremen looked a different class."That was a convincing performance from us," said coach Thomas Schaaf. "It is great when you play such a game and score goals. Primarily, this gets us three points, but it is also great to beat a team like Bayern Munich and that will help us in the coming games."
The matches come thick and fast for both sides with the second round of the DFB-Pokal in midweek. Bremen are at Erzgebirge Aue and Bayern host Nurnberg.The Bayern president Franz Beckenbauer said: "On Wednesday we have the chance to win in the cup and then we return to normality." Schalke coach Fred Rutten was critical of his side's second-half showing against Eintracht Frankfurt despite a 1-0 win taking them top of the league.
Frankfurt were reduced to 10 men in the 34th minute when defender Chris was shown a red card for elbowing Heiko Westermann, and the Royal Blues made their numerical superiority count when Patrick Ochs put through his own net seven minutes later. "We played very well in the first half with a high tempo and we created a lot of chances," said Rutten. "In the second half the tempo was too slow, the opposition were well organised. Playing against 10 men is not as easy as it looks from the outside."
Frankfurt manager Friedhelm Funkel was delighted with the way his team responded. "It was a deserved victory for Schalke, there is no doubt about that," said Funkel. "But I have to congratulate my team." * With agencies