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Sunday August 25, 2013 MYT 3:32:26 AM
Sunday August 25, 2013 MYT 3:32:26 AM
by karolos grohmann
Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery (L) celebrates during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match against FC Nuremberg in Munich August 24, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
BERLIN (Reuters) - Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben struck as Bayern Munich eased past Nuremberg 2-0 on Saturday to maintain their perfect start to the season and join three other teams with nine points at the top of the table.
On the day the Bundesliga celebrated its 50th anniversary, goals from Robben and Ribery confirmed last season's treble winners Bayern's favourite status while the referees were busy elsewhere with seven red cards handed out in three games.
Frenchman Ribery broke the deadlock in the 69th minute after the hosts had missed a hatful of chances, scoring his first ever header in the Bundesliga. Robben added another goal after a spectacular solo effort nine minutes later.
"We have to work on our conversion of chances," Bayern midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger told reporters. "We know that we can play better than this."
With Mario Goetze making his first start for the Bavarians since leaving Borussia Dortmund in the close season and with fellow midfielder Thiago Alcantara also in the line-up, it was clear Bayern would control possession.
But it was Nuremberg, on the back foot from the start, who carved out the first good chance as Daniel Ginzcek rattled the crossbar with a thunderous shot from 20 metres.
The home team were awarded a penalty in the 33rd minute, even though it seemed like Robben was doing the fouling, and keeper Raphael Schaefer picked the right corner to save David Alaba's spot kick.
Bayern were camped in the Nuremberg half after the break and Schaefer denied Mario Mandzukic, Thomas Mueller and Goetze before Ribery's header put them in front.
With the Bavarians pressing, it was only a matter of time before they scored again and Dutch winger Robben weaved his way into the box before beating Schaefer.
Bayern have now extended their club record to 28 home games without defeat. Ribery also set a new club record, chalking up his 18th win from 18 straight league appearances, one more than former striker Roy Makaay.
Borussia Dortmund, who beat Werder Bremen 1-0 on Friday, are top of the table thanks to a superior goal difference.
Fellow Champions League combatants Bayer Leverkusen, also on nine points, let slip a two-goal lead against Borussia Moenchengladbach before fighting back to win 4-2 with a double from Sidney Sam.
Schalke 04, who have yet to win this season, slumped to their second defeat in three games with a 2-1 reverse at Hanover 96 and had captain Benedikt Hoewedes sent off for a straight red card in the 14th minute.
Schalke, who drew 1-1 at home in their Champions League playoff first leg against PAOK Salonika in midweek, went behind when Szabolcs Huszti, who was later sent off for a rough challenge, converted the penalty that resulted from Hoewedes's foul.
Mame Diouf doubled the lead for the hosts, drilling in a header from two metres, before forward Adam Szalai cut the deficit.
Schalke's Christian Fuchs was also sent off five minutes from time for a second booking to complete their misery and pile further pressure on coach Jens Keller.
"We played well in the second half despite being a man down for most of the time," said Keller. "In our situation it is understandable we are not playing with a lot of confidence."
VfL Wolfsburg lost 2-0 at Mainz 05, another team with nine points, and also had new signing Luiz Gustavo dismissed for a second booking in the 64th minute.
Hertha Berlin defeated Hamburg SV, still looking for their first win, 1-0 courtesy of Adrian Ramos's third goal of the campaign.
Hoffenheim had Sejad Salihovic sent off for slapping an opponent in the ninth minute of their 3-3 draw with Freiburg, shortly after he had scored from the penalty spot.
Freiburg had Francis Coquelin dismissed in the first half and Admir Mehmedi red-carded late in an entertaining game.
($1 = 0.7461 euros)
(Editing by Josh Reich)
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