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Resolute FCB aim to win group in Lyon

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Resolute FCB aim to win group in Lyon

Postby FCBayernNews » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:15 pm

The Bayern squad arrived in Lyon to find rain cascading from the skies, weather conditions fully in keeping with Bavarian memories of previous visits to the city on the Rhone. Munich were held to a 1-1 draw here five years ago, slightly better than the dismal 3-0 defeat in March 2001 which prompted an outburst from Franz Beckenbauer of such venom and severity, hardened ex-players still shudder to think of it today.

A new generation now bears the Bayern torch. Today's men in red are determined to make it third time lucky and register the club's maiden success in Lyon when Munich take on Olympique at the Stade Gerland on Wednesday evening (Live in English from 8.30 pm CET on FCB Web Radio) for the prize of top spot in Champions League Group F.

"It's very important we win the group," coach Jürgen Klinsmann insisted, urging his men to give "everything we've got" against the serial French champions. With five games played, the teams are level on points and both are already through to the last sixteen. A scoring draw or a win would see FCB finish top of the section. "We want first place so we'll try and win," said Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

FCB on form

Winning the group brings the benefit of playing the second leg in the first knockout round at home. "It's only a slight edge, but it can be decisive," argued Philipp Lahm, "history shows that finishing top of the group gives you a better chance of progressing." Of 124 Round of 16 ties in the Champions League, 73 have been won by the team playing the first leg away from home. "And we don't want our campaign to end in the first knockout round," Rummenigge stated.

The men from Munich are determined to polish up their record in Lyon. "We won't go down 3-0 this time," Rummenigge declared. Indeed, the FCB stars have recently been playing way above the "disgraceful" level of "veterans' football" which so infuriated Beckenbauer seven years ago.

Rummenigge described Bayern's current run of 14 games without defeat in all competitions as "first class". Lahm feels FCB are "in the groove and full of energy," an opinion shared by Klinsmann: "We're approaching the match with plenty of confidence. The team's come together so well, we're sure we can cause Lyon problems in front of their home crowd."

Rensing issues warning

However, Bayern have "hardly been handed a bye" against the Ligue 1 leaders, keeper Michael Rensing warned. Lyon, without superstar Juninho and a clutch of key players on Wednesday, may have gone three games without a domestic league win, but Klinsmann is still expecting "a really tough match." Added Franck Ribéry: "I know Lyon. They turn up for the important games."

Bayern will also be below full strength, as Brazilian duo Zé Roberto and Lucio are unavailable, but the Bavarians will not be knocked out of their stride. "We want to give it everything just before we enter the winter break," insisted Rensing, looking beyond the Lyon clash to Saturday's final Bundesliga fixture before Christmas, when the champions travel to Stuttgart.

Rummenigge's festive wish list features "two victories", while Klinsmann said it was "very, very important to finish the year well." A win on Wednesday would certainly guarantee an enjoyable post-match banquet, although there was in any case "nothing to fear," according to Bastian Schweinsteiger: "Franz Beckenbauer won't be there this time."
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