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Resolute FCB sign off with swashbuckling win

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Resolute FCB sign off with swashbuckling win

Postby FCBayernNews » Sat May 18, 2013 4:30 pm

Full-strength Bayern warmed up for the Champions League final with a stirring fightback and ultimately deserved victory away to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday afternoon, as the sides served up a seven-goal thriller to mark Jupp Heynckes' 1,012th and last match in the Bundesliga.

The 54,010 full house at Borussia Park saw the home side rocket into a two-goal lead after just five minutes with goals from Martin Stranzl and Mike Hanke, but although Javi Martinez calmly pulled one back straightaway, Havard Nordtveit restored the two-goal lead on ten minutes.

Franck Ribery cut the deficit after 18 minutes to round off an exhilarating opening period, but although the visitors dominated the rest of the first half and created a number of chances, there were no more goals before the break. Ribery levelled the scores on 52 minutes with a sumptuous volley from fully 20 yards, and Arjen Robben completed the comeback seven minutes later with a close-range finish.

An astonishing 15th victory in 17 away fixtures means champions Bayern finish this record-breaking season on 91 points, a mammoth 25 ahead of distant runners-up Dortmund. The focus now turns to the Champions League final in London next weekend, where FCB start as favourites in the all-German final against domestic rivals BVB.

Heynckes had said beforehand there would be no concessions to the upcoming date at Wembley, and he was as good as his word with just one change to the side which beat Augsburg 3-0 last weekend, Jerome Boateng returning from suspension in place of Daniel van Buyten.

It meant FCB started with Manuel Neuer in goal, captain Philipp Lahm, Dante, Boateng and David Alaba in defence, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Martinez in central midfield, Arjen Robben and Ribery on the flanks, and Thomas Müller in the hole behind lone striker Mario Mandzukic.

Gladbach boss Lucien Favre also made one change to the side which played last weekend and beat Mainz 4-2, Roel Brouwers replacing the injured Dominguez. Former Germany international Hanke led the line in his last outing for the Lower Rhine club.

Before referee Thorsten Kinhöfer whistled play underway, the ground rose as one to acclaim Heynckes, a native of Mönchengladbach and one of the club's greatest-ever servants. What followed was unrelenting action, as the home side caught the visitors cold and struck twice in the first five minutes, Juan Arango whipping in a cross from the right for Stranzl to nod home, and starlet Branimir Hrgota setting up Hanke for a low drive past Neuer and in at the corner.

But Bayern immediately responded to the setback, as Ribery exchanged passes in midfield and slid a perfect ball between the Gladbach centre-backs for Martinez to advance into the box and coolly beat home keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen from 12 yards. That was not it for an eventful first ten minutes, as Gladbach restored their two-goal lead when Arango found Partick Herrmann with a sweeping crossfield pass, the Germany junior international making space for Nordtveit to apply a ten-yard finish.

Still the champions refused to be knocked out of their stride and slowly but surely pinned the home side back into the final third of the field. FCB pulled another one back after 18 minutes when Müller controlled a throw-in on his chest and laid off for Ribery, who wasted no time in blasting a curler from the right edge of the box in at ter Stegen's unguarded near post.

The sides took a breather for a spell, before FCB set about their opponents with gusto. Lahm fired over the bar from a good position, Ter Stegen did well to turn Müller's effort round the post, Robben's shot on the turn floated narrowly wide, and Ribery's deflected effort looped inches wide of the target. The only incident of note at the other end before half-time was Neuer's firm punch to deal with Hanke's 25-yard rocket.

Müller had the ball in the net from the first attacking move after the restart, but Mr Kinhöfer had already blown for a foul. Arango had Neuer scrambling at the other end only for the Venezuelan's shot to skid wide, but the scores were level after 52 minutes when Ribery crashed home a stunning 20-yard volley from Lahm's deliberately chipped cross.

It was panic stations in front of Neuer a moment later as Arango's free-kick and Hanke's follow-up caused havoc, but Ter Stegen soon made a superb save to deny Mandzukic, and Bayern completed a remarkable turnaround on 59 minutes when Ribery picked out Robben at the back stick, the Dutchman volleying his side's fourth from close range.

FCB now needed two more goals for a century this term and went for it, Stranzl clearing off the line from Robben and ter Stegen saving superbly from Alaba, Robben and Ribery, before Mandzukic gave way to Gomez for the last 15 minutes, and Xherdan Shaqiri and Claudio Pizarro replaced Robben and Müller with ten minutes left. The champions were more or less content to see it through to the finish now and round off a history-making season the way it started, with a deserved victory.

Chris Hamley reporting from Borussia Park for fcbayern.de
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