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Olic strike sets up showdown in Turin

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Olic strike sets up showdown in Turin

Postby FCBayernNews » Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:15 pm

Bayern's workmanlike victory at home to an eager but limited Haifa side could yet prove priceless in Champions League Group A, as Juventus's defeat in Bordeaux means Munich can still make the last sixteen with a win in northern Italy on the final matchday - a big ask, but better than no ask at all.

The 58,000 crowd at the Allianz Arena saw Munich dominate the first period after a cagey opening, but chances proved hard to come by against Elisha Levy's hard-working side. With the stadium in uproar at news of Girondins' lead against Juve, Ivica Olic finally broke the deadlock just after the hour, and although FCB lacked the killer touch to double the advantage, the crucial three points never looked in serious doubt from then on.

Bayern showed two changes to the side held by Leverkusen at the weekend. Olic made a surprise start after a lengthy injury lay-off, standing in for Miroslav Klose (elbow), although in the absence of Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Luca Toni, Louis van Gaal was left with little alternative in selecting a partner for Mario Gomez.

In midfield, Danijel Pranjic was preferred to Anatoliy Tymoshchuk as the more attacking option, while young Holger Badstuber continued his run in the side at left-back, with Philipp Lahm over on the opposite flank.

Once Scottish referee Craig Thomson whistled play underway on a crisp autumn night in Munich, the sides spent the first quarter of an hour feeling each other out, before the home side fashioned the first couple of chances.

Gomez slid the ball inches wide after a slick interchange with Thomas Müller and Mark van Bommel, and Bastian Schweinsteiger just failed to control a fine Müller through ball, but Maccabi coach Levy had clearly instructed his men to get at the Bavarians and Eyal Meshumar tested Jörg Butt with an awkward bouncing shot as the game took on a lively character.

But Haifa number one Nir Davidovitch was much the busier of the keepers, pushing a Gomez effort round the post with his fingertips, watching as Badstuber pummelled a drive wide of the upright, planting his face in front of a deflected Olic piledriver without knowing much about it, and executing a comfortable take from Schweinsteiger's well-struck effort.

Olic headed the last chance of the first half over the bar from Badstuber's free-kick, but the first opportunity after the restart fell to the Israeli champions, Yaniv Katan volleying over following a moment's loss of concentration in the FCB defence.

Schweinsteiger promptly responded with a vicious free-kick against the top of Davidovitch's crossbar, but the biggest cheer of the night thus far came on 55 minutes with news of Bordeaux's opener at home to Juventus.

With the energized crowd now behind them, Van Gaal's men showed far greater urgency and were rewarded on 62 minutes when Van Bommel expertly released Gomez for a run and shot. Davidovitch could only palm away the Germany striker's drive, leaving Olic with the simple task of slotting the loose ball over the line.

Andreas Ottl replaced Pranjic for the last 20 minutes as Bayern sought to wrap up the win, but Davidovitch easily gathered Schweinsteiger's curling free-kick, and Müller and van Bommel both fired narrowly wide.

The exhausted Olic left the field to loud acclaim with ten minutes left, Tymoshchuk taking over for the closing stages, and van Bommel twice whistled drives across the face of goal as the Bavarians settled for the win by the narrowest of margins.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley
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