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Old friends, big spenders and a Mozart

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Old friends, big spenders and a Mozart

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:30 pm

25.08.2006 <div class="abstand_unten_20"> </div> Former foes Spartak Moscow, fresh opponents Sporting Lisbon and the summer's biggest spenders Internazionale of Milan stand between Bayern and a place in the Champions League first knockout round. <b></b> analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the Reds' European group rivals.

<b>Bayern's Group B rivals:</b>


It's an ill wind that blows no-one any good, and Inter rate as the biggest winners to emerge from the match-fixing scandal which continues to rock Italian football to the core. Following Juventus' compulsory relegation and the deduction of points from biter Milanese rivals AC, the <i>Nerazzurri</i> were awarded the Serie A title by default, their first championship triumph since the days of Lothar Matthäus and Jürgen Klinsmann back in 1990.

Inter and billionaire president Massimo Moratti spent the summer picking over the bones of the star-studded Juve squad, coming away with the signatures of Patrick Vieira and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Coach Roberto Mancini's shopping spree did not end there, as Argentine hitman Hernan Crespo arrived from Chelsea, and sturdy full-back Fabio Grosso was enticed away from Palermo. The Italy international shot to fame with the crucial goal two minutes from time in the eventual World Cup winners' semi-final with Germany. The Inter squad boasts a host of equally big names including Luis Figo, Adriano of Brazil, Argentine dynamo Esteban Cambiasso, and keeper Francesco Toldo.

Bayern have only met Inter once, in the last sixteen of the 1988-9 UEFA Cup. The Reds lost 2-0 at home, but roused themselves in what has become known in Bavarian circles as the Miracle of Milan to win the tie with a 3-1 triumph at the San Siro stadium.

<b>Sporting Lisbon</b>

Ironically enough, the Portuguese runners-up celebrated their centenary just a few days ago with a match against Internazionale (picture). Bayern have never before met the 2005 UEFA Cup finalists (Sporting lost the match 3-1 against CSKA Moscow) and 1964 European Cup Winners' Cup champions.

The Portuguese capital's 'second' club rank third overall in terms of domestic championships with 18, behind Porto on 20 and local rivals Benfica with 31. Sporting last finished top of the league four seasons ago, but ran Porto close for last term's crown. The biggest name in the squad supervised by Paulo Jorge Gomes Bento is Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo, while the old boys' club includes a certain Luis Figo, set for a reunion with his former team-mates when Inter come to town.

<b>Spartak Moscow</b>

Bayern have crossed swords often enough with the men from the Russian capital, with the record books showing three previous meetings in the Champions League. The most recent came in the 2001-2 group stage, Munich winning 3-1 in Moscow and then 5-1 back at their home Olympic stadium. Of the six individual matches played, Bayern have won four with two draws, both of these back in 1994-5. The Russian championship runners-up, currently second in the local spring-to-autumn league campaign, qualified for this term's premier European competition thanks to a 2-1 aggregate victory over Slovan Liberec. Spartak have won the Russian/USSR title on 21 occasions and have lifted the domestic knockout Cup 13 times, although they have yet to claim major international honours.

The Muscovite ranks feature former Stuttgart and TSV 1860 star Martin Stranzl. The Austrian international switched to the Russian capital and the side coached by Vladimir Fedotov last January. Martin Demichelis wil meet up with a former team-mate from his days winning the Argentine championship with River Plate in 2003 as Fernando Cavenaghi now plies his trade with Spartak. Other key personalities include Ukraine schemer Maxym Kalinichenko, Czech international Martin Jiránek and serial Russian Footballer of the Year Igor Titov. However, the most remarkable name belongs to Mozart, a Brazilian midfielder at the club whose given name is Junior Santos Batista.
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