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Deep yearning for Champions League glory

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Deep yearning for Champions League glory

Postby FCBayernNews » Wed May 16, 2012 6:00 pm

For the losers in a cup final, there is always one bitter and agonising ritual to be observed after the final whistle, the slow trudge past the trophy to collect a silver medal from an official. Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger know the procedure well. On the domestic front, both players have won everything there is to win, three doubles in Philipp's case, and five in Bastian's. However, the pair have come close to success on the international stage in recent years without ever winning. They yearn to put that right. "Once you've made a final, you want to lift the trophy," said Lahm. The trophy on offer this Saturday is arguably the most sought-after in the world.

Eleven years after Stefan Effenberg and Oliver Kahn led the way to Munich's first victory in the Champions League, the club's two current captains are now seeking to follow in the footsteps of their illustrious predecessors. "You have to win trophies so your name appears in the history books in bold," chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told kicker magazine.

In 2006, promising youths Lahm and Schweinsteiger featured in Germany's thrilling run at the World Cup, but that ended to Italy in the semi-final. Two years later, each lost his first major final in a 1-0 defeat to Spain at Euro 2008 in Vienna. 2010 ended in a double dose of frustration, first the unlucky 2-0 defeat to Inter in Bayern's most recent Champions League final, and then another 1-0 reverse against the Spanish with Germany, this time in the World Cup semi-final in South Africa.

On Saturday, the pair are looking to realise their dream of a first international triumph. "A number of the players were in the team in 2010. We've come on since then and have a long more experience. Our belief that we can win the trophy is greater than two years ago," declared Lahm, "if you're to be known as a golden generation, you need a European trophy."

Bastian: No better day

Schweinsteiger is just as fired up for the final on home soil, as he regards the European Cup as the ultimate reward for a professional footballer: "For me personally, the Champions League is extremely prestigious." It was prestigious for the Effenberg and Kahn generation too, who did not rest after the dramatic defeat to Manchester United in 1999 until they finally laid hands on the cup on 23 May 2001 after a dramatic penalty shootout against Valencia.

Lahm for one has not forgotten the defeat to Inter in Madrid on 22 May 2010. "It was hard to get to sleep, and waking up was even worse," the full-back confessed. He would be only too pleased to avoid a repeat experience this time: "I don't have a huge amount of time left at the very highest level," he noted. Schweinsteiger said there would be "no better day" than this Saturday to celebrate on Munich's own patch. 1999 and 2001, 2010 and 2012: let's hope history repeats itself.
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