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Keeper's blunder saves Bayern blushes

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Keeper's blunder saves Bayern blushes

Postby FCBayernNews » Sun Sep 10, 2006 8:00 pm


The echoes of the final whistle had hardly died away at St Pauli's Millerntor stadium on Saturday evening before Bayern keeper Michael Rensing was trotting from his goal towards his counterpart at the other end of the field. Home keeper Patrik Borger stood transfixed in front of his goal, staring blankly into the Hamburg night sky. Rensing embraced his opposite number, clapped him around the shoulders and spoke a few consoling words to the devastated player.

Borger, the number two at the cult Hamburg club, played unquestionably the best game of his career to date in the DFB German Cup first round tie against Bayern, only to go from hero to villain in the space of one fatal instant with just five minutes of extra-time remaining. The keeper misjudged the flight of an innocuous Philipp Lahm cross, and in attempting to tip the ball over the bar, palmed it into the net for one of the goalkeeping howlers of the decade. "That'll live with me until the day I die," the 27-year-old lamented in despair.
<b>Almost unbeatable Borger</b>

Borger's blunder ultimately spared Bayern a huge potential embarrassment and saw the holders through to the second round of the Cup. "We were lucky at the end, because it was a lucky goal, but all in all, we deserved to win," a relieved general manager Uli Hoeneß remarked. "We're just delighted to be through to the next round," acknowledged Mark van Bommel following his competitive debut in a red shirt.

The holders' eminently tight victory was deserved for the fact that the visitors had much the better of the chances over the 120 minutes. Munich were denied on half a dozen occasions by the outstanding Borger, whose display drew words of praise from Hoeneß. "He made some unbelievable saves. He attracted the ball like a magnet. It bordered on the incredible sometimes."

<b>110 percent from minnows Pauli</b>

Borger's heroics were only needed after half time, as the home side utterly dominated the first period. "We were extremely poor in the first half, and St Pauli were outstanding," Hoeneß observed. The third division side ran like dervishes and more than matched their top flight, double-winning opponents. "They played at their limit, or even beyond it. They ran like the wind and hunted down our players from one corner to the other," the general manager continued.

Timo Schultz' 31st minute opener was no less than the home side deserved at that point. "You rarely see a match featuring a team playing at such sustained pace as St Pauli in the first 45 minutes," Felix Magath said admiringly. The Bayern boss turned the game on its head at half time by replacing Roy Makaay with Lukas Podolski, who stabbed home Willy Sagnol's cross to equalise just 26 seconds after the restart and posed a constant threat thereafter.

<b>Poldi provides turning point</b>

"It wasn't just that he scored, he was easily our most effective striker," Magath remarked, opening up the prospect of a first start at the club for the Germany international in Tuesday's Champions League opener at home to Spartak Moscow. "He's dramatically improved his chances," the coach revealed.

Lucio will definitely appear in the European clash despite collecting a red card from referee Lutz Wagner for allegedly elbowing veteran Thomas Meggle in the first minute of extra-time. The fact the holders went on to win with ten men offered proof of solid morale in the Bayern camp, in what Hoeneß described as "a good dress rehearsal" for the meeting with Moscow. Perhaps the unlucky Borger will be watching the game on TV, perhaps thinking back with dismay and regret to the fateful 115th minute on Saturday evening.
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