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Goals and a keepsake for delighted Daniel

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Goals and a keepsake for delighted Daniel

Postby FCBayernNews » Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:15 pm


Daniel van Buyten was one of the last players off the pitch at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium on Tuesday evening, but despite the defender's colossal 1.96 m / 6ft 5 in frame, he was not immediately recognisable. The Bayern man had swapped shirts with AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini and was clad in the red and black stripes of the north Italian giants, but securing the property of the man who recently clocked up his 600th Serie A appearance was not the only reason the Belgium international was smiling from ear to ear.

"It's been a great evening and I'm delighted," Van Buyten later told reporters. "It was a good game, two vital goals for me and most important of all, a great result for the team." The centre-half's brace means Bayern have an excellent chance of making the last four of the Champions League for the first time in six seasons.

<b>Standing ovation for 'goal-getter'</b>

"I'm really pleased for Daniel. He's been criticised a lot recently, but his form has improved dramatically in the last four weeks," Ottmar Hitzfeld commented. "Even so, none of us expected him to turn into a goalscorer." The player received a warm standing ovation from the guests assembled at the Grand Hotel Brun for the traditional midnight banquet.

"Fortunately, our striker Daniel van Buyten hit the target twice," chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge quipped in his speech to the guests. The Belgian's double strike completed his rehabilitation from a poor spell of form after the winter break. "I went through a phase when I wasn't completely well, but I'm feeling great now and I'm determined to keep improving," the player remarked.

<b>Clinical left foot</b>

"I've got better because we've improved as a team, and we're a lot more solid," he continued. Indeed, Daniel complemented his tidy defensive duties with a striker's nose for goal at the other end of the field.

"It's happened for us at last. He always scored vital goals for Hamburg," general manager Uli Hoeneß smiled after watching the Belgian net twice with his weaker left foot. "He was technically excellent. Both with his left peg, and clinical too," praised Owen Hargreaves, whose cross led to Van Buyten's second equaliser in the fourth minute of added time.

<b>Rewarded for courage</b>

"It's not easy with the left foot, but I concentrated on the ball both times," the scorer pointed out. "For the second goal, I speculated the ball would come to the far post. I didn't think about it, I let fly, and it went between Dida and the post."

"He made his own luck, but it was the result of courage and determination. I'm delighted for him," Hitzfeld observed. The coach has invested time of late in talks aimed at rebuilding the sensitive individual's confidence. "By showing faith in him and supporting his position in the team, you see he's a top-class defender. He showed utter determination," the Bayern boss explained.

<b>Most important goals of career</b>

"Those are the most important goals of my career," Van Buyten smiled, "although we'd better make sure we get through now. That'll make them crucial goals."

The last remaining question concerned the 38-year-old Maldini's shirt. "We arranged it beforehand," Daniel revealed to <b></b>. "As a kid, I really admired him because he was one of the best defenders in the world. I desperately needed his shirt for my collection." As of Tuesday evening, the great Maldini now knows something about Daniel van Buyten.
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