That’s the greatest day of my life—Lyon 0-3 Bayern

April 28th, 2010 No comments

phpYSe774Something as trivial as a deep and painful gash was never going to stop Ivica Olic on this particular evening. Blood was dripping from a wound to the back of his head, but the Croat still attacked Philipp Lahm’s 78th-minute cross and headed the ball back across Lyon keeper Hugo Lloris and into the net. Bayern went 3-0 up, all of them scored by Olic in arguably the best game of his career.

“I didn’t want to be substituted, because I had the feeling I could score another couple,” the match-winner stated afterwards, revealing what was said in a touchline exchange between him, Bayern chief medic Dr Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt and boss Louis van Gaal. Olic already had two goals to his name at that point, a 26th-minute right-footed shot on the turn after great work by Thomas Müller, and a left-footed effort on 67 minutes from a sublime Hamit Altintop pass. Bayern were as good as home and dry, but Olic wanted more.
“Scoring three in a match like that is outstanding, a dream,” the 30-year-old declared after the match, a look approaching bewilderment on his face. The former Hamburg striker is now on seven goals in the Champions League this term, a huge contribution to Munich’s thrilling progress to the final. Only eight-goal Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has scored more often. Read more…

Martin Demichelis and Buyten on squad but still doubtful

April 27th, 2010 No comments

phpc5g6DgDaniel van Buyten was well enough to use the fitness machines at the Säbener Strasse on Sunday, but the Belgian is still rated doubtful for Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final return away to Olympique Lyon. Worryingly for Bayern, the same applies to fellow centre-back Martin Demichelis. The pair were both substituted after sustaining injuries in Saturday’s Bundesliga meeting with Monchengladbach.

Van Buyten suffered a painful blow to the shin and calf early in the second half, while Demichelis sprained a calf muscle before half-time. Both will travel with the FCB party to Lyon on Monday, but a decision over their fitness to play will be left until the day of the match. “I hope at least one of the centre-halves recovers fitness,” Louis van Gaal said after the Gladbach match, “then we’ll have Badstuber, the centre-half, and Contento on the left. I’d be happy with that.” Read more…

Forlan strike won Atletico 1-0 over Liverpool

April 23rd, 2010 No comments

phpd6BDV9Former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan earned Atletico Madrid a 1-0 win over Liverpool in their Europa League semi-final first leg. Forlan hit a scrappy winner in only the ninth minute on Thursday night - but the tie is far from over and even without an away goal, Rafael Benitez’s side will be optimistic of overturning the result at Anfield next week.

The Reds missed their injured striker Fernando Torres almost as much as the former darling of the Vicente Calderon missed the chance to face his old club, having also been denied that opportunity in the Champions League last season because of more fitness problems.

Benitez had insisted the 1,200-mile journey by coach, train and eventually plane - after UEFA’s insistence the match go ahead despite the volcanic ash cloud which grounded flights across Europe - had brought his squad closer together.

If only his defence had been tighter-knit in the ninth minute then they may not have conceded.

No one will ever really know whether their exertions in getting to the Spanish capital had an effect but it was a sloppy piece of marking which cost them. Read more…

Olympique Lyonnais Show Their Inexperience

April 22nd, 2010 No comments

phpdw7k21After all the pre-match bluster from Olympique Lyonnais general manager Claude Puel, who said that reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League shouldn’t be considered an achievement in itself, les Gones contrived to produce one of their most tepid performances in Europe for many a season against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.

FCB’s domination was almost total from start to finish, even for the relatively brief period either side of half-time that they were reduced to ten men when Franck Ribery’s troubles mounted for a needless foul on Lisandro Lopez. Kim Kallstrom at least managed to stretch Hans-Joerg Butt during that spell, but this would be virtually the only time during the course of the match the veteran goalkeeper would be severely worked.

When Italian referee Roberto Rosetti blew his whistle to kick the game off, it was clear Lyon were content to sit deep and allow Bayern to dictate the game. For ten minutes the Germans retained possession rather aimlessly, but gradually they became increasingly active in an offensive capacity, with Arjen Robben, of course, dictating play.

Lyon’s makeshift defence quickly began to creek. Twenty-three-year-old goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who has been so highly praised throughout this campaign was the first on the field to show signs of nerves when he misjudged two consecutive corner kicks. He was not, however, aided by an outfield unit boasting too many fresh faces at such a lofty level. Read more…

Robben strikes again–Bayern 1-0 Lyon

April 22nd, 2010 No comments

phpTito9IBayern go into next Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final second leg trip to Lyon with a slender one-goal lead after yet another sublime Arjen Robben effort, although Munich might yet rue not scoring a second on a night when Louis van Gaal’s men dominated their Ligue 1 opponents throughout. Both sides had a man sent off in an increasingly enthralling contest, which leaves the Bundesliga leaders with the slight advantage ahead of the return.

The 66,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw Bayern create much the better of the first-half chances, but Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ivica Olic failed to hit the target. The balance of the game changed controversially with Franck Ribery’s harsh dismissal seven minutes from the break, but parity was restored with Jeremy Toulalan’s sending off for two bookable offences in three minutes shortly after the restart.

It was one-way traffic for a spell after that and chances went begging for the home side, before Robben handed the Bavarians an overdue lead with a trademark 25-yard piledriver. The sides settled for the result, leaving the tie nicely-poised before the return in the Rhone valley next week.

Van Gaal made just one enforced change to the side which thrashed Hanover 7-0 at the weekend, Danijel Pranjic deputising for suspended captain Mark van Bommel alongside Schweinsteiger in the holding midfield area.

Diego Contento continued at left-back in place of Holger Badstuber, with Thomas Müller in the hole behind Olic up front, and Robben and Ribery on the flanks. There was firepower on the Bayern bench too, with Germany international duo Mario Gomez and Miro Klose.

For the visitors, coach Claude Puel made three changes to the side which beat Bordeaux in the quarter-finals. Top scorer Lisandro Lopez shook off an ankle injury and started in place of Bafetimbi Gomis, with Ederson and Miralem Pjanic replacing Michel Bastos and the injured Jean-Alain Bomsong. No fewer than seven of Puel’s men started the game just one booking short of missing the second leg. Read more…

Two more games, and We go to final in Madrid

April 21st, 2010 No comments

php4UIzD6Two more games, and Bayern could be contesting the Champions League final in Madrid. Buoyed by Saturday’s goalfest against Hannover, and “full of adrenalin,” according to Philipp Lahm, FCB now take on Olympique Lyon in the semi-finals. “It’s the best thing that could have happened. We were already confident, but winning 7-0 just increases it,” said Louis Van Gaal. “Hannover play the same system as Lyon, so it was good practice.”

A real sense of anticipation has gripped Munich. A 66,000 full house will pack the Allianz Arena, but the club fielded 300,000 requests for tickets. The city and the fans are keenly awaiting Italian referee Roberto Rosetti’s whistle to get the game underway. “We’re looking forward to the match and the atmosphere at the Allianz Arena, which has been sensational recently,” said Lahm, “I can hardly wait for it to start.”
Chairman Karl Heinz Rummenigge reckons FCB have a “50-50” chance of making the final. A win at home would arguably increase that chance, although Van Gaal insisted a goalless draw would also be a good result. “0-0 or 1-0 is better than 2-1. It sounds strange, but it’s how I see it, because we’ve always scored away from home,” the coach stated. Whatever else happens, the 58-year-old would rather his side kept a clean sheet.

Van Gaal feels Bayern’s best attacking chance is down the flanks. “It’s the biggest problem for our opponents. We don’t just have Robben, we also have Ribéry,” said the head coach, who was absent from Tuesday’s final pre-match training session due to a family bereavement. Assistant coach Andries Jonker texted the boss at the end of the session with the news that all the players are fit, including Ribéry, who sat out training for two days with a strain. “He completed the session,” Jonker reported. Read more…

Willy Sagnol : That’s what makes Olympique so dangerous

April 21st, 2010 No comments

phphbFLauWilly Sagnol is a Champions League winner, a member of the Bayern team which lifted the prestige trophy in Milan back in 2001. He might even have been facing Olympique Lyon for the right to contest this term’s final, had he not had to end his illustrious career prematurely with injury a year ago. fcbayern.de accompanied the in-demand Frenchman to a news conference in Munich, and then spoke exclusively to the
33-year-old about the midweek clash.

Willy Sagnol on…

…the going-in position:
“It’s 50:50. Neither probably wanted Barca or Inter at this stage and both will be totally fired up: it’s not every season you get this close to the Champions League final. I know from my own experience that it’s never easy against Lyon, but I think Bayern definitely have the better team.” Read more…

Mourinho enjoys Barca’s revenge

April 21st, 2010 No comments

php1IrwFFBarcelona felt aggrieved not to have won a penalty, but Mourinho pointed to last year’s semi-final when Chelsea had several appeals rejected against Barca.

“It’s a pity. A year ago Chelsea were crying and Barca were laughing with the referee,” said ex-Blues boss Mourinho.

“They laughed because he denied my Chelsea boys their rightful place.”

Barca full-back Daniel Alves found himself booked for diving in the second half after going down under a Wesley Sneijder challenge inside the box.

But Mourinho, who left Chelsea as manager in September 2007, had no sympathy for the club where he once worked as an interpreter for Sir Bobby Robson.
Instead, he invoked memories of last season’s semi-final between Barca and Chelsea when Andres Iniesta’s spectacular injury-time strike denied the Blues a place in the final after referee Tom Ovrebo had turned down a string of penalty appeals.

“Barca went on to the final (last year) and went on to win everything,” said Mourinho. “The league, the Champions League, Super Cups, the Club World Cup, six trophies in total.

“I don’t feel that the referee influenced the outcome of this game, no. It’s a pity he gave an offside against [Inter's] Diego Milito at the start when he was onside, but that’s all.”

Mourinho, whose team beat Chelsea earlier in the tournament, praised his side’s fighting spirit after they recovered from an early Pedro goal to stun the holders and make themselves favourites to reach the final in the Bernabeu in May.
Read more…

Inter Milan 3-1 Barcelona

April 21st, 2010 No comments

phps753oBInter Milan sent reigning Champions League champions Barcelona to the brink of elimination following their victory in the first leg of their semi-final at the San Siro tonight.

It was the game billed as an early final, and if the eventual final in Madrid can live up to what this had to offer, then the 90,000 fans inside the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu will be in for a treat on May 22.

Pedro put Barcelona in front in the 19th minute, but Inter turned the game around thanks to goals from Wesley Sneijder on the half-hour mark, Maicon just three minutes into the second half and Diego Milito after an hour.

Inter will now travel to tSpain next week looking to wrap up their first ever Champions League final appearance.

Barca, who endured a 14-hour bus journey to Milan due to the volcanic ash, will have plenty of time to reflect on their display as they head back to Catalonia knowing they will need at least two goals to progress. Read more…

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