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Klose strikes as Bayern lift League Cup

28 July 2007 20:29

BERLIN (AFP) - Miroslav Klose struck for Bayern Munich as the Bavarian giants won the German League Cup with a 1-0 win over Schalke 04 on Saturday.

This was the sixth time Bayern have lifted the trophy since it was created in 1997 and Klose's early goal was enough to give the 20-times German champions victory.

It now means Bayern have already beaten all three teams - including VfB Stuttgart and Werder Bremen - who finished above them in last year's Bundesliga.

Bayern splshed out a reported 69 million euros during the summer to build their own dream team in a bid to cancel out last season - their worst for 11 years - and showed their intentions to win next season's Bundesliga.

"That was a victory of the will," said Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld.

"It was important for us to begin this season with a title after last season's poor results.

"We do not want to over estimate the League Cup win, but we wanted to send out a clear message and we have now beaten the three teams who finished above us last season."

Bayern captain Oliver Kahn was delighted to pick up the impressive six-team trophy and is looking forward to the new season.

"This victory is good for our self-confidence," said Kahn.

"We are in the middle of our preparations for the new season, we won't be getting too carried away with the win, but it's a good start."

Having cost Bayern 12 million euros from Bundesliga rivals Werder Bremen, Klose saved the cup final at Leipzig's sold-out Zentralstadion to score his first competitive goal for his new club.

Bayern were too strong despite missing influential new signing French midfielder Franck Ribery, who scored three goals in the quarter and semi-final wins, but succumbed to a knee injury he picked up in Wedesday's 2-0 win over VfB Stuttgart.

German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger was also out with a knee strain, while Dutch hard-man Mark Van Bommel was suspended after the midfielder was found guilty of unsporting conduct against Stuttgart.

Bayern took the lead after Klose, who missed Wednesday's 2-0 semi-final win at Stuttgart with a leg injury, poached a first half lead.

Klose managed to pick up a loose ball in the penalty area after 29 minutes and lifted it over Schalke goalkeeper Manuel Neuer into the empty net.

Schalke's Serbian defender Mladen Krstajic and Bayern's Brazilian defender Lucio both picked up yellow cards in the dying stages of the first-half as Bayern took their advantage into the break.

Schalke striker Halil Altintop let his frustrations get the better of him when he fouled Klose early in the second-half, with his twin brother Hamit in the Bayern team.

The best chance to equalise fell to Schalke's German international Kevin Kuranyi, in the 58th minute, who unleashed a superb shot which needed a diving save from Kahn.

Bayern open their Bundesliga campaign away to Hansa Rostock on August 11, with defending champions Stuttgart taking on Schalke in the first game of the new season on Friday August 10.

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