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Night of mixed emotions for Bayern stars

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Night of mixed emotions for Bayern stars

Postby FCBayernNews » Sun Oct 21, 2007 12:06 am

18.10.2007

Four days after sealing a berth at Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, Germany returned to earth with a painful bump in a sobering 3-0 defeat to main Group D qualifying rivals Czech Republic at the Allianz Arena. It was Germany’s first competitive defeat under coach Joachim Löw, the first European Championship home loss in 24 years, and the three-time European champions’ biggest-ever reverse in the qualifying competition.

<b>Czechs through to Euro</b>

The 66,000 capacity crowd generated an atmosphere reminiscent of the 2006 World Cup before kick-off, but goals from Libor Sionko (2) and Marek Matejovsky (23) prompted delight only among the estimated 10,000 Czech fans packed into the superb ground.

<b>Bastian Schweinsteiger, Marcell Jansen</b> and <b>Lukas Podolski</b> all started for the Germans but were unable to disrupt the efficient and determined Czechs. Schweinsteiger fired narrowly over from 25 metres after 26 minutes and warmed keeper Petr Cech’s gloves with a 57th minute free-kick, before the Bayern midfielder made way for striker Mario Gomez seven minutes later. Jaroslav Plasil’s strike a minute earlier had in any case ended the game as a contest as the powerful Czechs claimed their own place at next summer’s tournament.

<b>Going to the wire in Group B</b>

The situation is far less clear-cut in Group B, where <b>Franck Ribéry</b> and World Cup runners-up France registered a hard-earned 2-0 home win over Lithuania, assuming the lead in the section on 25 points ahead of Scotland (24), surprise 2-0 losers in Georgia, with world champions Italy a further point back.

With a game in hand on their rivals, FCB hitman <b>Luca Toni</b> and his Italian team-mates now travel to face the Scots in a potentially decisive showdown on 17 November. In Nantes on Wednesday, the French struggled for long periods against their Baltic opponents and only claimed the points in the closing stages with a quick-fire Thierry Henry brace (81/82), Ribéry playing a part in the build-up to the opener.

<b>Altintop with it all to do</b>

<b>Hamit Altintop</b> completed the full 90 minutes for Turkey, but the Munich man is also far from certain of a place at Euro 2008 after reigning continental champions Greece made off with the points in the biggest Group C game of the night. Frankfurt hitman Ioannis Amanatidis’ strike was enough to separate the sides in Istanbul and see the Greeks through to the finals, whereas the Turks drop to third in the section on 18 points, seven points off the leaders. Norway now occupy second place on 20 points after a 2-0 victory in Bosnia.

Over in Group A, Belgium and Armenia played for pride with both teams already out of the Euro 2008 running. <b>Daniel van Buyten</b> played the first hour before giving way to Hamburg’s Vincent Kompany as the Belgians completed a morale-boosting 3-0 victory with goals from Sonck (63), Dembele (69) and Geraerts (76).

<b>First success for Lucio</b>

The fortunes of <b>Lucio</b> and his Brazilian comrades looked up after the <i>Seleçao</i> bounced back from an unexpected goalless World Cup qualifying opener against Colombia at the weekend to demolish Ecuador 5-0 in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday evening. An 80,000 capacity crowd at the Maracana was treated to goals from Vágner Love (19), Ronaldinho (72), Kaká (77, 83) and Elano (82).

The five-time World Cup winners, once again captained by Bayern centre-half Lucio, go second in the South American qualifying standings behind Martin Demichelis’ Argentina, <a href="/en/news/news/2007/13716.php?fcb_sid=560ba3a78d47529a83d1f2d936c43061" target="_top" class="content_link">2-0 winners away to Venezuela</a> the previous evening and top of the table with maximum points from their two matches.
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