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Praise for Kahn, concern over finishing

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Praise for Kahn, concern over finishing

Postby FCBayernNews » Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:07 pm


Wacker Burghausen certainly tried their hardest to spring a Cup surprise against Bayern. The third division club unveiled a new club song, sold ‘Pizza Luca Toni’ around the stadium, and brought in a lucky charm in the shape of Roland Stein, the match-winner for state league outfit TSV Vestenbergsgreuth when Munich last failed to survive the first round of the Cup 13 years ago. The plan so nearly came off: at 3-3 in the sudden death penalty shoot-out, defender Markus Palionis stepped up to the spot with a truly sensational outcome beckoning.

However, the former Bayern youth saw his potentially match-winning kick saved by Oliver Kahn. The Bayern keeper proceeded to beat away the home side’s next penalty, seizing victory and a place in the next round from the jaws of defeat after 120 absorbing minutes of football and a total of 14 penalties.

<b>Spotlight on keepers</b>

“Penalties are always a lottery, but we do have Oliver Kahn. He rode to our rescue,” a thoroughly relieved Ottmar Hitzfeld observed. “We were very, very lucky at the end. Thank God Oliver was there to save us,” Uli Hoeneß agreed. The match, goalless at the interval, finished 1-1 at the end of normal and extra time.

Manuel Riemann, Kahn’s opposite number in the Burghausen goal, had appeared destined for the accolade of match-winner until the Bayern man’s late intervention. The 18-year-old thrilled the 11,582 full house in the seething cauldron of the Wacker Arena with the game of his young life, pulling off countless saves as he almost single-handedly threatened to inflict a deeply embarrassing result on the 13-times winners. “He’s got a ball magnet in his gloves,” Hoeneß grimaced. On the rare occasions the ball avoided Riemann, the Reds watched in increasing agony as shot after shot whistled past or over the woodwork.

<b>Praise for Burghausen</b>

Bayern only beat Riemann once, Miroslav Klose heading a 79th minute equaliser after Thomas Neubert had handed the minnows a shock opener against the run of play on 61 minutes. Burghausen’s blend of desire, passion and a healthy dose of self-belief took Bayern to the brink of a totally unexpected defeat.

“It was a cracking tie, with everything you could possibly want from the Cup,” Hitzfeld reflected, heaping praise on the home side. “They played above themselves, they were totally motivated, quick, aggressive, and they kept our defenders busy too. They’ve put up an unbelievable fight.“ Wacker coach Ingo Anderbrügge expressed pride in his young, newly formed team: “I told the lads to get forward and not just pack the defence, and I think they went out and did just that.”

<b>Poor finishing</b>

While fully acknowledging the third division outfit’s commendable display, the Bundesliga side should really have settled the issue before the regulation 90 minutes were up. “I saw a fantastic Bayern team, playing fantastic football at times,” Kahn mused, before coming tersely to the point: “We simply failed to put away our chances.“

Hitzfeld praised his men for their precise and swift passing, penning their opponents back in their own penalty area, and creating chances in abundance. “But we were guilty of missing far too many chances up front. Sometimes we were unlucky, and sometimes we were denied by an outstanding Manuel Riemann.“

<b>Success before style</b>

As the game went on, Bayern’s attacking thrusts became more urgent but less penetrative. “At times, I thought it was too pretty and not direct enough. That’s why we almost lost tonight,” Kahn remarked, reminding his team-mates that success must take priority over style. “So a game like that was just the right preparation for the Bundesliga restart.”

In all likelihood, Saturday’s home encounter with Hansa Rostock will resemble the Burghausen clash in many respects. Munich are favourites against the promoted visitors, but will need to take their chances. “Tonight’s match showed we still have a lot of work to do. We have to do a lot more than simply turn up, even the last doubter must be convinced of that by now,“ Hitzfeld concluded.
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