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Football Whispers
 By Mark Lovell

A 'revidalized' Arturo Vidal scores again for Bayern Munich

Arturo Vidal scored for a fourth successive Bundesliga game as Bayern Munich edged to a scrappy 1-0 victory at Eintracht Frankfurt.


Vidal continued his impressive Bundesliga scoring record as the champions stretched their lead at the top to eight points over nearest challengers Leipzig. A sixth consecutive Bundesliga title looks a mere formality.


Bayern were indebted to 36-year-old academy coach Tom Starke, called out of retirement in the autumn, to preserve a fortunate three points.

Manager rating out of 10

8 -- Jupp Heynckes took his tally to 12 wins in 13 games since his return for a fourth spell with Bayern. On Saturday he won against the club where he spent a turbulent season in 1994-95.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Tom Starke, 8 -- Celebrated a surprise 100th Bundesliga appearance after Sven Ulreich injured his adductor in the warm-up. The veteran goalkeeper kept Bayern in the game with a couple of superb first-half saves from Ante Rebic and another from Jetro Willems.

DF Rafinha, 6 -- The Brazil international filled in again but struggled to stem the flow of Frankfurt attacks from the left flank.

DF Jerome Boateng, 6 -- Did not feature against PSG, but held firm against up-and-coming French forward Sebastien Haller, and victory over his half-brother Kevin-Prince Boateng of Frankfurt will be particularly sweet.

DF Niklas Sule, 5 -- Sluggish and does not look comfortable playing alongside Boateng in central defence.

DF Joshua Kimmich, 7 -- Whipped in a perfect cross with his weaker foot for the winning goal, but had his problems defensively dealing with the impressive Ante Rebic.

MF Javi Martinez, 5 -- Enjoyed a rest against PSG, but laboured for long periods on a freezing day in the German financial capital. He did come out with the quip of the day about his goalkeeper after the game, telling reporters: "Starke looks like he is 50 but trains like a 28-year-old."

MF Arturo Vidal, 7 -- The combative Chilean has been completely "revidalized" since his dressing down by Heynckes and has now scored in four consecutive Bundesliga games, nodding home a far post header for the game's only goal on 20 minutes. Having picked up a yellow card after only five minutes, Heynckes wisely removed him from the fray on 55 minutes as tempers flared after the break.

MF Franck Ribery, 5 -- Largely anonymous on a bitterly cold day on the Main and replaced on the left by Alaba as Bayern battled to a vital three points.

MF James Rodriguez, 6 -- The Colombian playmaker was on the receiving end of some rough treatment and his marker, former 1860 Munich talent Marius Wolf, was only spared a red card after the stressed referee changed his mind following a consultation with VAR.

MF Kingsley Coman, 6 -- A very low-key offering compared to his other outstanding performance against former club PSG and against Hanover this month.

FW Thomas Muller, 5 -- Pressed into a more advanced role in Robert Lewandowski's stead, Muller was isolated and starved of any chances. The captain did do good work, though, rousing the troops for the final 15 minutes of stout defence.


MF Corentin Tolisso, 6 -- Buoyed by his brace against PSG, Bayern's record signing took over from Vidal who was in red-card danger.

DF David Alaba, 6 -- Replaced Ribery as Bayern struggled to hold onto their lead.

FW Robert Lewandowski, N/R -- Came on for Coman to give Bayern fresh legs up front for the final seven minutes.

Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.


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