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Bayern serve up a dozen reasons to cheer

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Bayern serve up a dozen reasons to cheer

Postby FCBayernNews » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:00 pm

After Bayern's record-breaking 12-1 aggregate victory over Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League first knockout round, Lukas Podolski allowed himself a brief moment of reverie. "As a farewell, I'd happily take another Bundesliga title, and a place in the Champions League Final. The Final is definitely possible," the Cologne-bound striker declared after Bayern cruised into the last eight with a crushing 7-1 win in Tuesday's return.

Unsurprisingly, the 65,000 at the Allianz Arena stayed in their seats long after the final whistle to hail the team for a glorious evening's entertainment. A fair proportion of the crowd will, like Podolski, have let their thoughts stray to May the twenty-seventh, the day of the Champions League final in Rome. However, the prevailing mood in the dressing room called for focus on the down-to-earth business of the next match.

"It's been a great evening. We'll enjoy it for now, but the next tough challenge is on Saturday in Bochum," Mark van Bommel stated, turning immediately to the Bundesliga. "We made the quarter-finals two years ago, but we weren't even in the Champions League last season. We basically don't know where we really stand in Europe," the captain said the following day.

Bayern have already achieved the minimum they set out to achieve in the Champions League, a satisfied general manager Uli Hoeneß pointed out. FCB have made the last eight in some style too. "Nobody's scared of anyone else in the Champions League, but our results must have generated a certain amount of respect. The other teams will be looking at videos of us, and they'll be saying: whoa, what's going on here?" Hoeneß smiled.

"We've sent out a strong signal that we're serious contenders," coach Jürgen Klinsmann commented after the storming win against the side lying third in Portugal. Podolski struck a first-half brace, his third double in European competition, before Polga put through his own goal and Bastian Schweinsteiger added the fourth before half-time. Joao Moutinho had pulled one back just prior to the interval, but it proved scant consolation for the Portuguese as Van Bommel, Miroslav Klose from the spot and young Thomas Müller rounded off a truly emphatic win.

"We're one of the best eight teams in Europe, we're hungry, and we want more," Klinsmann declared. The draw for the quarters takes place in Nyon on 20 March, where the other seven clubs will surely not be hoping for a pairing with Bayern. "We've done very well this season, and the other teams will have been watching," said Philipp Lahm. "The way we played tonight, especially in the first half, was very impressive. If we keep closing down the space and maintain our discipline, we're hard to beat."

Superb record

Bayern's eight Champions League matches so far have produced the startling record of six wins and two draw, with 24 goals for and just five against. "Any of the clubs still in it could win the trophy, and that includes Bayern," observed Hans Jörg Butt after his debut outing in FCB colours.

Perhaps most encouragingly of all, two commanding victories over Sporting and Hannover were achieved without Luca Toni and Franck Ribéry. "When you're fighting on several fronts, it's vital to know you can rely on your squad players. We have players on the bench capable of scoring goals and deciding matches," Hoeneß said approvingly. "We needed to know it all still worked without those two. 5-1 and 7-1 were the proof," remarked Lahm, although the left-back added a caveat: "You can't compensate for two players of their calibre over the long term."
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