Bayern nearly there with Viola win
Bayern Munich ignored their poor league form to secure a convincing 3-0 win over Fiorentina in Tuesday's UEFA Champions League match in Munich to take control of Group F.
Despite a dramatic slump in recent weeks which has seen them crash to 11th in the Bundesliga, Bayern forgot their domestic league form to take another three points in the quest to add to their 2001 Champions League crown.
The victory will take some of the pressure off Bayern coach Jurgen Klinsmann who picked up his first win of October last weekend - his first in four league games - as Munich's fortunes look to be improving.
"The victory was very, very important and gives us lift," said Klinsmann. "But we must build on this, we knew Fiorentina are a very strong, attacking team and had their chances to score a goal or two. We have to consitently reach that level and we hope we will just get better and better. I never doubted we would get to this level."
With two wins and a draw under their belt in Group F, Bayern are now on the verge of making the first knock-out phase with seven points from Lyon second on five.
But the result leaves Fiorentina in a precarious position - especially after Lyon's 5-3 win at Steaua Bucharest - at third in the table.
Bayern had a dream start when Luca Toni brushed off a rib injury to face his former club and flicked the ball into the path of Miroslav Klose who out-paced the defence to drill the ball into the corner after just four minutes.
Then Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger capitalised on a mistake in the defence on the edge of the area and smashed his shot past Fiorentina's French goalkeeper Sebastien Frey on 25 minutes to make it 2-0 at the break.
Having scored 31 league goals for La Viola in the 2005/06 season, Toni is still a firm favourite amongst Fiorentina fans despite playing for Bayern and received a warm response when he was replaced on 57 minutes.
His replacement, Germany striker Lukas Podolski, was soon into the action and had a chance to score on 61 minutes when French midfielder Franck Ribery put him into space.
But Cesare Prandelli's team will leave Munich disappointed they did not finish their chances having had some 23 shots on goal, compared to Bayern's 15, but were constantly frustrated by Bayern's defence.
And on the stroke of 90 minutes Bayern's Ze Roberto unleashed an unstoppable shot which gave Frey little chance and made sure the Italians return home empty handed.
But with three games left for both teams there is still all to play for in the return leg on November 5 when the two sides meet at Fiorentina's Artemio Franchi stadium.