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Reluctant viewer van Bommel returns to action

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Reluctant viewer van Bommel returns to action

Postby FCBayernNews » Mon Apr 09, 2007 7:30 pm


Mark van Bommel rarely finds himself a spectator when Bayern play, but one of those unusual occasions came last week as the Dutch ace served out a one-match suspension for the Champions League quarter-final first leg away to AC Milan. Just like millions of Bayern fans everywhere, the midfielder spent his evening in a roller-coaster of emotion in front of the TV.

Van Bommel joined physiotherapist Gerry Hoffman and fitness coach Thomas Wilhelm for an exciting couple of hours glued to the TV set at the Säbener Strasse professionals' quarters. "We shouted, we celebrated and we yelled insults, which is all part of the game," Van Bommel revealed. Before kick-off, he sent good luck text messages to all his team-mates, the only method he had at his disposal to influence the result in any small way.

<b>Back in action</b>

The situation will be very different on Wednesday when the Milanese visit the Allianz Arena for the return. Van Bommel will make his contribution out on the pitch, to the delight of both the 29-year-old himself and boss Ottmar Hitzfeld. "We missed Mark's influence and inspirational presence," the coach declared following the 2-2 draw in Milan a week ago.

Hitzfeld will now turn again to his "aggressive leader" in the decisive second leg. The player will be asked to rouse his team-mates, break up the Italians' attacking efforts in midfield, and perhaps score a vital goal in a repeat of his late exploits in Madrid at the round of 16 stage. That would not only help Bayern through to the last four, but also add polish to the player's private showdown with AC Milan.

<b>Frequent battles</b>

In both the last two seasons, Van Bommel crossed swords with the north Italians in the Champions League semi-finals. Two years ago, he and his PSV Eindhoven team-mates fell on away goals after a dramatic second leg in the Netherlands which went all the way to the wire, but last season he made it to the final with Barcelona when the Spanish giants struck the only goal of the tie in Milan.

In one sense, the midfielder has already exacted personal revenge over Wednesday's opponents. "But Bayern still have a score to settle," he recalled. The serial German champions have failed to overcome the <i>Rossoneri</i> in four attempts, and suffered a bitter 4-1 defeat in the last sixteen a year ago. "But we have a good set of cards this time, and hope we play them successfully."

<b>Slight advantage</b>

"The situation before kick-off is 51 percent for us and 49 percent for Milan," the Dutch enforcer commented. That miniscule one percent could be the difference between glory and failure on Wednesday, but one thing is certain: Van Bommel has no intention of watching the semi-final on TV.
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