Gomez keeps Bayern top
Mario Gomez was on target with a first-half hat-trick as Bayern tightened their grip on Group A with a 3-2 victory over Napoli.
Last Updated: 02/11/11 9:59pm
Mario Gomez was on target with a superb first-half hat-trick as Bayern Munich tightened their grip on UEFA Champions League Group A with a 3-2 victory over Napoli.
The German striker, currently the top scorer in the Bundesliga, put the hosts in command in an eventful first half as he fired three past Napoli goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis.
Defender Federico Fernandez replied for the visitors on the stroke of half-time before both sides saw players dismissed in the late stages, with Holger Badstuber and Juan Camilo Zuniga seeing red.
Fernandez then added another with 10 minutes remaining to set up a dramatic finish, but the hosts managed to hold on for the win.
The German group leaders are now on course for the knockout rounds and three points clear of Manchester City, who moved into second place with victory over Villarreal.
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes admitted this week he has started to dream about winning the competition at the Allianz Arena next May and knew a win tonight would take them one step closer to the goal of contesting the final at their home ground.
The win did not guarantee Bayern a place in the last 16 but gives them the chance of sealing their passage in their next home game against Villarreal.
Bayern, as expected, made the early running as Luiz Gustavo and Thomas Muller both saw shots blocked.
In the 17th minute their endeavours were rewarded as Gomez showed typical striker's instinct to get on the end of Daniel van Buyten's pass from the right and slot past De Sanctis from just inside the box.
Napoli looked to respond but were winded by a second Bayern blow. The hosts broke with speed and when Toni Kroos flew down the left flank and centred for Gomez, the striker made no mistake from close range.
The Italians had a brief purple patch as Gokhan Inler fired wide but Franck Ribery, Kroos and Gomez all had chances at the other end.
Jerome Boateng's volley forced a save from De Sanctis before Bayern went 3-0 up. Again Kroos was involved, the young winger seeing his shot saved by De Sanctis before Gomez stole in to poke home the loose ball.
Napoli finally woke up and reduced the deficit by half-time, as Fernandez headed home Ezequiel Lavezzi's free-kick in the 45th minute.
Lavezzi had a shot after a quiet opening to the second half and Philip Lahm forced De Sanctis into a smart save.
Zuniga was sent off for a second booking in the 71st minute before Badstuber went off for Bayern six minutes later.
But 11 minutes from time Napoli pulled another back, Fernandez this time heading Inler's cross down and in.
It was Bayern who ultimately finished strongest, however, as the hosts took all three points.