Style points no concern for Pep Guardiola as Frank Ribery puts Bayern Munich past Bayer Leverkusen

Ribery's 100th competitive goal for the club gave the German champions a narrow 1-0 win on Saturday, with Guardiola saying 'I am happy because I know how strong Leverkusen are'.
Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola greets Thomas Muller as he is subbed off during the team's 1-0 Bundesliga win over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday. Matthias Hangst / Bongarts / Getty Images
Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola greets Thomas Muller as he is subbed off during the team's 1-0 Bundesliga win over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday. Matthias Hangst / Bongarts / Getty Images

Coach Pep Guardiola made no apology for Bayern Munich’s lack of goals in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen.

This was an off-key performance from Bayern, who managed just two first-half shots, as they began a busy period of five matches in 14 days, including Wednesday’s final Champions League group game at home to CSKA Moscow.

“People expect two, three or four goals from us, but I knew it would be difficult against Bayer Leverkusen,” said Guardiola as Franck Ribery’s 51st-minute winning goal kept Bayern seven points clear.

“Except for the first ten minutes, we didn’t give them any chance to score, which is very good from my team, because I know how dangerous Bayer Leverkusen are.

“Our final pass was missing in the first-half, but I am happy because I know how strong Leverkusen are.”

Bayern took the lead when winger Ribery volleyed home from a corner to claim his 100th competitive goal for the club in all competitions on his 186th league appearance – the most for a French player in the Bundesliga.

“He is one of the best foreign players in the history of this club,” said Guardiola.

The Bavarian giants remain seven points clear of nearest league challengers Wolfsburg after beating fourth-placed Leverkusen, who remain the last team to beat Bayern at the Allianz Arena, back in October 2012.

“It was important for the team to get the win, especially before our Champions League game at home and three Bundesliga games in quick succession,” said Ribery.

“It won’t be easy, but that was a good start.”

Bayern host Moscow with their Champions League’s last 16 place already secured as group winners before facing third-placed Augsburg away.

They then host Freiburg before playing Mainz away with those three league games being played in the space of six days.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Borussia Monchengladbach got back to winning ways with their first victory after three successive defeats, beating Hertha Berlin 3-2. Monchengladbach, who were second in the Bundesliga before the slide, got goals from Tony Jantschke, Raffael and Thorgan Hazard to move into sixth.

Wolfsburg remained second with a 3-1 away win over Hannover, Kevin de Bruyne opening the scoring and Bas Dost striking the winner after the half. Maximilian Arnold struck the final tally five minutes before time, with Ivan Perisic assisting on all three goals.

Augsburg also won, 2-1, away against Cologne, with Nikola Djurdjic and Alexander Esswein scoring. Roberto di Matteo’s Schalke dropped four on bottom of the table Stuttgart, winning 4-0 on Maxim Choupo-Moting’s hat-trick and an extra Max Meyer score.

Paderborn and Freiburg played to a 1-1 draw.

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Published: December 7, 2014 04:00 AM

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