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Kahn: ‘Not the kind of game I really appreciate'

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Kahn: ‘Not the kind of game I really appreciate'

Postby FCBayernNews » Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:07 pm


Oliver Kahn, three-time World Goalkeeper of the Year and much-decorated Bayern captain, crossed paths with Manuel Riemann, 18-year-old SV Wacker Burghausen prodigy, in the centre-circle after the final whistle on Monday night. A brief embrace, a word of encouragement from Kahn (“Well done son, keep it up”), and the pair went their separate ways.

When Riemann finally reached the dressing room after a dramatic penalty shoot-out at the end of a pulsating German Cup first round tie, he found Kahn’s jersey waiting for him. “Would you like it? It’ll be in the dressing room on your hook,” the 38-year-old Kahn had replied in answer to Riemann’s practically stuttering request for the highly-prized shirt. “And it really was there when I went in,“ Riemann beamed afterwards.

<b>Top-notch display</b>

After a string of breathtaking blocks, two saved penalties and one converted spot-kick to boot, Riemann turned in a magnificent performance over he preceding 90 minutes. However, at the moment when it really mattered, Kahn showed all his class and mental strength to rescue Bayern from an ignominious exit at the very first hurdle. “He showed he’s still absolutely world class,” coach Ottmar Hitzfeld declared in praise of his number one.

Kahn was rather less ebullient after the final whistle. “I’ve not been through that kind of match for a very, very long time. I’ve stood at the back for 120 minutes watching us miss chance after chance. That wasn’t the kind of game I really appreciate.“

<b>Gilding the lily</b>

It was certainly a curious outing for the longest-serving player at the club. Aside from a fine diving save to deny Levente Schultz in the fourth minute, Kahn was more or less unemployed until the 61st minute, when he picked Thomas Neubert’s unstoppable header out of the back of his net.

“Obviously the doubts creep in, but you can’t allow it to happen,” Kahn observed, “we played some outstanding football, but I think it was a little too pretty at times. I felt we passed the ball too much at the absolutely critical moments. If you overdo the style, you can miss out on success. It all looks fantastic, but it wasn’t single-minded enough, and we almost lost as a result.”

<b>Mental strength</b>

Kahn was utterly determined not to end his career in the German Cup with a first round defeat to a third division side. “I just didn’t want to get beaten here, and I mentally set myself completely against that,” he explained. On the one hand he had practically nothing to do, but on the other “I had to remain totally focused until I was needed.”

“I’ve set my sights high this season, not just for me, but also for the team. It wouldn’t have been right, we simply couldn’t be knocked out after playing so well,“ declared the captain, quoted at the weekend as hoping for a dramatic end to the campaign to rival the heart-stopping events of 2001. Perhaps that wish is set to be fulfilled: “With a start like that, we could end up with a really fantastic season.”
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