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Match Report: Bayern v Barcelona

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Match Report: Bayern v Barcelona

Postby FCBayernNews » Fri Aug 17, 2007 1:54 am

15.08.2007

A sublime Lionel Messi strike won the Franz Beckenbauer Cup, but Mehmet Scholl's last appearance stole the show on a festival evening in Munich.

The 69,000 full house at the Allianz Arena on a warm summer's evening enjoyed a suitably nostalgic warm-up programme, including an emotional farewell from Feyenoord-bound Roy Makaay, who personally thanked the Bayern faithful for their unwavering support during the striker's four prolific years at the club.

<b>Quality fare</b>

Then came the highlight of the show, as Barcelona paid Bayern and Scholl the compliment of fielding a starting line-up including Samuel Eto'o, Thierry Henry and Brazil megastar Ronaldinho, with the likes of Messi and Deco initially held in reserve.

The first half was an absorbing affair, pitching Barca's fluid movement and tactical flexibility against Bayern's discipline and collective will, before a raft of half-time changes on both sides briefly interrupted the flow.

<b>Messi stunner</b>

The crowd rose after 53 minutes as Scholl accepted the applause one last time, the veteran number seven handing over to the new bearer of the famous shirt, star signing Franck Ribery.

The remainder of the match was relatively subdued, until half-time sub Messi unleashed a stunning angled volley to earn his side victory five minutes from time.

<b>Hitzfeld's rotation policy</b>

As indicated beforehand, and with a crunch Bundesliga trip to Bremen coming up at the weekend, coach Ottmar Hitzfeld started with a number of key players on the bench, including Franck Ribery, Ze Roberto, Miroslav Klose and Marcell Jansen.

That meant a chance for squad players such as Hamit Altintop, Andreas Ottl, Daniel van Buyten and Christian Lell, although man of the day Scholl found himself paired up front with none other than World Cup winner Luca Toni.

<b>Fluid first half</b>

In a first half played at a moderate tempo but imbued with high intensity, the visitors were the first to show after a brief initial period of sparring, former Arsenal stalwart Henry and livewire midfielder Xavi testing Olli Kahn with well-placed efforts.

Scholl, getting little change out of Barca's solid defence expertly marshalled by seasoned campaigner Lilian Thuram, enjoyed his best spell midway through the half, sending over dangerous crosses for Altintop and Toni, before narrowly failing to play in Lucio with an intricate dink.

The two best chances fell around the half-hour. Henry initially sprang the offside trap from the ever-mercurial Ronaldinho's flighted through ball, only to be denied by Kahn's brilliant block, before Schweinsteiger's persistence saw him through on the left but blast just wide of Victor Valdes' goal.

<b>Thumping volley</b>

Messi and Deco came on for the visitors at half-time as the sides made a total of nine changes, but the biggest roar of the day greeted Scholl's final act as a pro when he gave way to Ribery after 53 minutes.

The Frenchman and Altintop whistled shots past Valdes' goal, while Henry spurned a glorious chance to open the scoring from sub Giovani's cross on 70 minutes, but the second period was an altogether more low-key affair until Messi's sublime moment of skill and precision five minutes from time.

<i>Chris Hamley reporting from the Allianz Arena for <b>fcbayern.de</b></i>
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