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Banquet speech: Let's do it like in 1999

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Banquet speech: Let's do it like in 1999

Postby FCBayernNews » Sun May 23, 2010 4:45 pm

The atmosphere in the Barcelona suite at the Eurostars-Madrid Tower hotel was not that of frenzied celebration, but nor was it funereal: there was dancing, good food and fine wines. And once Karl-Heinz Rummenigge took the microphone just before 1 am, the mental distress began to dissipate. "We won't let the season be spoilt by a single defeat," the FCB chairman declared.

"The team has been fantastic this season. I'm proud of the team, the coach, and everyone at the club." Just minutes earlier, the 1,000 guests at the post-match banquet, including Bavarian First Minister Horst Seehofer, his predecessor Dr. Edmund Stoiber, Vitali Klitschko, Michael Henke and former players including Roy Makaay, Giovane Elber and Carsten Jancker, had given the playing and coaching staff a rapturous welcome. A standing ovation and long applause greeted the players introduced by resident announcer Stephan Lehmann as "Europe's second best team".

"You have to accept defeat to a better team from time to time. And Inter were just that little bit better today," said Rummenigge, specifically thanking Louis van Gaal for his "fantastic" work, before looking to the future. "There are two superb venues for the final coming up, London in 2011 and Munich in 2012. It would be really nice if we could perhaps make the final and win it in 2012."

Van Gaal takes the mic

The meal was tapas and tournedos, Rummenigge and Co lit cigars, and the players' wives and girlfriends teased smiles back onto the stars' faces. Van Gaal took the microphone just before 2 am, something no Bayern coach has done at a banquet in many a long year.

"I've told my players that was a great achievement," he said, although he admitted he was not yet really in the mood to party. Three hours after the final whistle, the defeat to Inter was still troubling him. "Normally, if we'd been in good shape, we could have beaten Inter. I feel that very strongly."

Starting over

However, Van Gaal remains proud of his team. "It's not been easy for the players this season," he said, "I'm not a very friendly coach, and I'm not patient either. And I also work with the brain. But despite the external pressure, the players have stood behind me from the first day." The stars have also absorbed Van Gaal's philosophy. "It's the most difficult way to win. Attacking is harder than defending, which we saw again today."

However, Van Gaal too turned his eyes to the future. Next season's task will be to confirm this term was no flash in the pan. "Winning the Champions League is very, very tough, but we'll do whatever we can to achieve that." Rummenigge had earlier signed off with a rallying cry: "Let's do it like in 1999. The players were on their knees, but they came back from holiday, got straight to their feet and started all over again." The banquet in Madrid was the first step in that process.
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