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Bayern tops AP rankings for 4th straight week
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND (AP) - It’s turning into a procession for Bayern Munich in the Associated Press global soccer poll.
For the fourth straight week, the German champions were voted the top team by a panel of journalists following back-to-back 6-1 wins _ first against Wolfsburg in the German Cup semifinals and then over Hannover on Saturday for its 13th straight Bundesliga victory.
“As much as I like Barcelona, boy is it tough not to like the way Bayern Munich is playing right now,” said Tom Timmermann, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Two 6-1 wins in one week? I don’t care who you’re playing. I like to see that.”
Oezil’s silky display at the Santiago Bernabeu overshadowed that of international colleague Mario Gomez, whose five goals last week earned him a share of second place with Tottenham forward Gareth Bale.
The showy display of scoring last week included Robin van Persie, whose hat trick in a 3-0 win over Aston Villa secured Manchester United a 20th English title. But it landed him only seventh in the player voting.
Whether Bayern stays at the head of the line or is toppled by Barcelona could hinge on the outcome of Tuesday’s Champions League semifinal first leg between two of Europe’s heavyweight clubs.
“The best German title-winning side ever?” Will Tidey, of the Bleacher Report, asked of Bayern. “The argument is being made and you can see why based on Bayern’s depth and their dominance this season.”
Nine of the 17 voters gave Bayern top marks, leaving Jupp Heynckes‘ side 30 points ahead of second-place Juventus in the poll.
Juve is closing in on the Italian title and can have Arturo Vidal to thank for pressing home the team’s advantage this week. The midfielder from Chile scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Lazio on Monday before landing the winner over AC Milan on Sunday. Two of those goals came from the penalty spot.
“I’m not really big on rewarding him for someone else’s work in drawing the foul,” Timmermann said. “Still, we’ve seen enough players botch penalty kicks to know they’re not quite gimmies.”
Bale’s return from an ankle injury inspired Tottenham to a 3-1 win against Manchester City and he was rewarded with 81 points from the panel. Tottenham was third among the teams.
By Tom Fitton
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