Ribery keeps Bayern on Hoffenheim heels

November 1, 2008

BERLIN, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Franck Ribery came to Bayern Munich's rescue again in a 3-1 win at home to Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday, while leaders Hoffenheim turned on their customary style in a 4-1 win over Karlsruhe.

Bayern had thrown away a first-half lead and were getting frustrated in the second when Ribery tore through the middle to put Juergen Klinsmann's side back ahead with his third goal in as many games.

The French midfielder helped make the game safe when he won a late penalty for Lukas Podolski to convert.

Hoffenheim were also being held in the second half before Chinedu Obasi put them back in front in the 67th minute.

Vedad Ibisevic scored his second of the game, and his 13th of the season, to make it 3-1 and Obasi tapped in his second to round things off.

Hoffenheim, who are enjoying a remarkable debut season in the Bundesliga, lead the standings with 25 points from 11 matches.

Bayer Leverkusen are second on 24 following their 2-0 win at home to VfL Wolfsburg on Friday, while Bayern Munich's fourth successive league win took them up to third on 21 points.

Hamburg SV slipped out of the top three when they suffered a 3-0 defeat away to Hanover 96 but Werder Bremen returned to form with a 5-1 win at home to Hertha Berlin.

Klinsmann shuffled his team and his tactics for the visit of Bielefeld and for a long time the changes looked set to bring their wining run to an end.

They took a slightly fortunate lead midway through the first half when the ball dropped to Miroslav Klose on a second rebound and the Germany striker gratefully lashed in.

The visitors were gifted the equaliser when a woefully timed tackle from Martin Demichelis handed Artur Wichniarek a penalty.

Klinsmann reverted back to something like his usual formation in the second half, bringing on Podolski to play up front with Klose.

After a series of near misses they moved ahead again when Podolski slipped the ball through for Ribery to show great touch and timing with his deft shot past keeper Dennis Eilhoff.

Robert Tesche got himself sent off for a bad foul on Ribery and with a few minutes to go the Frenchman's final burst through into the box won the penalty for Podolski.