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Appetites whetted by 'outstanding' group phase

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Appetites whetted by 'outstanding' group phase

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu Dec 11, 2008 7:00 pm

Foie gras, oysters, veal and a generous topping of praise were on the menu at Bayern's post-match banquet in Lyon. "Winning here in the lions' den is worth a round of applause," Karl-Heinz Rummenigge agreed as the sponsors and fans gave the team a rousing reception. Munich's 3-2 victory on Wednesday sealed top spot in Champions League Group F - and whetted the appetite for more of the same.

"Our performances in recent months, the quality and balance in the team, our desire and inspiration, mean it won't be easy knocking Bayern out of the competition," Rummenigge commented. In their six group matches, the German champions scored 12 goals and conceded only four, registering four wins and two draws for a total of 14 points. That record at this stage of the competition ranks second only to 2001-2 in the Munich annals, and was the best of all 32 clubs in the eight groups this year.test"It's been a wonderful group campaign," enthused Rummenigge, "and it wasn't an easy group either. We never thought it would be so comfortable." Uli Hoeneß spoke of "an outstanding group stage. That's sensational."

Coach Jürgen Klinsmann said he was "extremely satisfied. I'm impressed at the way the team mastered a very tough group." The boss feels his men are more than equal to the challenge of the next stage. "We wanted to pull level with the biggest clubs in Europe, and I think we've done just that. What's come together here is fantastic."

Wednesday's first half display bore all the hallmarks of a quality team at the top of its game. Flawless keeper Michael Rensing and his defence kept the lively French strikers at bay, while at the other end, two-goal Miroslav Klose and Franck Ribéry, on the scoresheet for the first time in the Champions League, ruthlessly put their side 3-0 up at the interval.

"We played one and two touch football, let the ball do the work, penetrated their penalty area and scored our goals. It was top class, quality football," Klinsmann said. Rummenigge described the first 45 minutes as "close to perfection. We were fantastic."

Knowing Lyon now needed four goals to dislodge them from first place, the Bavarians shifted down through the gears after half-time. "We started thinking about Saturday in Stuttgart, and we unconsciously stopped concentrating," Hoeneß reflected, although the board director was far from angry: "I'm not trying to find a fly in the ointment."

Sidney Govou and Karim Benzema cut the arrears but could not deny FCB the victory. "We deserved to win the group," Hoeneß remarked, although Rummenigge warned against complacency: "The Champions League gets going for real now."testFired up for Stuttgart

Chelsea, Arsenal, Real Madrid and Inter Milan are among the teams Bayern could face in the first knockout round. "They're all top notch. The tough part starts here," Rummenigge repeated. However, Munich are convinced of their credentials at this rarefied level. "We'll definitely be difficult to beat," declared Philipp Lahm.

The German champions now approach the final Bundesliga fixture before the winter break with their confidence soaring. "We have one more tough match now, away to Stuttgart. If that goes well, it'll rate as a perfect year," argued Hoeneß.

Bayern are aiming for the win which could give them top spot at Christmas. "We need to show Hoffenheim that Munich belong in first place," Rummenigge said directly to the players in his speech at the banquet, "concentrate lads, and give it everything one last time." A feast it may have been, but Bayern are still hungry.
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