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Comeback kings Bayern play catch-up

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Comeback kings Bayern play catch-up

Postby FCBayernNews » Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:30 pm

The second half of 2008 at Bayern included a patchy start to the new campaign, partly attributable to injuries and a difficult pre-season, but also featured a flawless Champions League group stage and a thrilling game of catch-up in the Bundesliga, culminating in victory over leaders Hoffenheim in the penultimate game before Christmas. casts an eye back over the key milestones of the last six months.

Review of 2008, part II

17 July: Just three and a half weeks ahead of the first match of the new season, the club's Euro 2008 stars finally resume training at the club, with the notable exception of injury victim Franck Ribéry. There are two new faces on the playing staff, both arriving in Munich on free transfers: Tim Borowski from Werder Bremen, and number two keeper Hans Jörg Butt from Lisbon outfit Benfica.

19 July: "Der Bomber" has a stadium named after him. Jürgen Klinsmann's team travel to Nördlingen for the inaugural match at the Gerd-Müller-Stadion. "I'm really moved," says goalscoring legend Müller, who was born in Nördlingen.

5 August: For the second time in its two-match history, the Franz Beckenbauer Cup is won by the visitors to Munich. In a repeat of last year's score against Barcelona, Bayern fall 1-0 to Inter Milan. More serious at this stage are injuries to Martin Demichelis, Luca Toni and Tim Borowski, meaning the trio will miss the start of the season. Furthermore, Willy Sagnol is sidelined indefinitely after complicated Achilles surgery. In late August, Hamit Altintop also requires an operation as the injury misery at the club shows no sign of abating.

10 August: The first game of the new term is a real thriller, as Klinsmann's side scrape a 4-3 victory away to third division Rot-Weiß Erfurt and claim a berth in the DFB Cup second round.

15 August: Injury-hit Bayern open their Bundesliga campaign with a 2-2 draw at home to Hamburger SV. A week later, new club captain Mark van Bommel is sent off, but the champions still salvage a 1-1 draw away to Borussia Dortmund.

27-28 August: There are a couple of late squad changes at the end of the summer transfer period. Marcell Jansen leaves for Hamburger SV after just one season in Munich. Bayern fill the gap with Italy international Massimo Oddo, in on loan from AC Milan for a season.

31 August: FCB beat Hertha BSC 4-1 to record a first win of term, before rising to second in the table after four matches with a comfortable 3-0 victory away to FC Köln.

2 September: Oliver Kahn finally exits the football stage, as Bayern draw 1-1 with Germany in a farewell match for the goalkeeping legend. "It's the greatest moment I've ever had in my career," a visibly emotional Kahn says afterwards.

17 September: FCB make a successful return to the Champions League with a 1-0 win away to Steaua Bucharest, but Munich lose twice on the trot in the Bundesliga - 5-2 at home to Werder Bremen and 1-0 in Hanover - and throw away points at home to VfL Bochum, letting slip a 3-1 lead seven minutes from time in a 3-3 draw. FCB fall to 11th in the standings, seven points off leaders Hamburger SV.

24 September: Franck Ribéry finally returns from a three-month lay-off in a 2-0 Cup victory over Nürnberg. "I'm delighted. The season's finally started for me now," Ribéry says.

18 October: Bayern begin their game of catch-up in the Bundesliga. A last-minute Miroslav Klose winner sees the men in red defeat Karlsruher SC, sparking a run of victories against Wolfsburg (4-2), in Frankfurt (2-1), at home to Bielefeld (3-1) and away to Schalke 04 (2-1). Jürgen Klinsmann's men keep coming from behind to win, earning a new reputation as comeback kings.

25 November: A 3-0 home success over Steaua sees Bayern through to the Champions League first knockout round with a game to spare. A 3-2 victory away to Olympique Lyon two weeks later means Klinsmann's men win Group F with four wins and two draws. "I think it's been an outstanding group stage campaign from us," jubilant manager Uli Hoeneß declares.

5 December: In the biggest Bundesliga fixture of the year, Bayern defeat shock league leaders TSG Hoffenheim 2-1 thanks to a last-gasp Luca Toni effort, drawing level on points at the top with the promoted club. Experts agree the clash was one of the best games in the German top flight for many a long year, as two quality sides both had chances to win.

12-13 December: Bayern are held 2-2 away to VfB Stuttgart in the final league fixture before the winter break, but as Hoffenheim can only draw at home to Schalke the following day, the teams lie joint top of the standings at the halfway point in the season, although Hoffenheim cling onto first place with a marginally better goal difference. "My team has been really impressive in recent months, and we're perfectly placed for the second half of the campaign," Klinsmann summarises.

15 December: Bastian Schweinsteiger hands the club an early Christmas present, signing an extension to his current contract and committing his future to Bayern until 2012. "We're very happy. Bastian is another important personality we've been able to sign up for the club in the future," declares FCB chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
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