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Review of 2007 I: Patchy form prompts change at the top

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Review of 2007 I: Patchy form prompts change at the top

Postby FCBayernNews » Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:30 pm


The year 2007 featured many highs and a clutch of lows at Bayern, including failure to qualify for the Champions League, a comprehensive overhaul of the first team squad, an uninterrupted run at the top of the Bundesliga in the current season, a farewell to two gifted footballers with contrasting personalities, and a string of injury concerns. <b></b> reviews an incident-filled 2007 at the club.

<b>Review of 2007, part I</b>

<b>16 January 2007:</b> The new year opens with a shock for everyone connected with Bayern. Two days after returning from a winter training camp in Dubai, Sebastian Deisler (pictured) announces he is giving up the game at the age of just 27. “This isn’t a spur of the moment decision. It’s been building up for a while,” comments Deisler, calling time on his promising career after a catalogue of problems with injury. “I’m not enjoying my football any more. It’s become an ordeal.“ On the same day, long-serving Hasan Salihamidzic announces he is to leave Bayern at the end of the season for Juventus after nine years in Munich.

<b>26 January 2007:</b> Three points adrift of Werder Bremen at the top of the Bundesliga standings, FCB open the second half of the campaign away to Borussia Dortmund. “We’ll fight back because our aim is to win the league,” coach Felix Magath declares, but a 3-2 defeat to BVB and a goalless draw at home to Bochum see Bayern tumble to eight points off the lead. The board decides enough is enough, and the club and Felix Magath part company on 31 January. “It’s a regrettable step,” comments chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Magath guided Bayern to Germany’s first-ever back-to-back league and cup doubles.

<b>1 February 2007:</b> Magath’s successor is also the man who preceded him: after a two and a half year break from the game, Ottmar Hitzfeld returns for a second spell at the helm. “I’m delighted to present our very own Ottmar Hitzfeld,” general manager Uli Hoeneß comments. “It feels as if I’ve never been away. I’m at home here,” Hitzfeld reflects. The General sets a third-place finish and a place in Champions League qualifying as his minimum target, but the Reds crash 3-0 away to 1. FC Nürnberg the very next day. Hitzfeld makes no secret of his dismay: “I knew it would be a tough job, but I’m surprised it’s going to be this tough. I now know how much work lies ahead.“

<b>20 February:</b> Away to Real Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg, Bayern are under the cosh in the first half but stage a stirring fightback after the interval, a 3-2 defeat handing the Reds pole position for the return in Munich. “Real are hardly invincible, as we saw in the second half,” Hitzfeld muses.

<b>3 March 2007:</b> FCB’s patchy Bundesliga form continues. There are victories at home to Bielefeld (1-0) and Wolfsburg (2-1) and away to Hertha BSC (3-2) but a defeat to promoted Aachen (1-0), leaving the champions two points off third place in fourth. However, the title is no longer a lost cause as slip-ups from the leading group mean Munich are only six points behind leaders Schalke 04.

<b>7 March 2007:</b> An explosive start to the return against Real Madrid as Roy Makaay strikes the fastest-ever goal in Champions League history to hand his side a 1-0 lead after a mere ten seconds. Lucio makes it 2-0 after half-time, before Real pull one back towards the end courtesy of Ruud van Nisterooy. After what Rummenigge hails as “our best performance of the season“, Bayern are through to the last eight. “We can be proud of our victory, because Real remain one of the best teams around. We’re back in business on the European stage,“ Hitzfeld declares. Bayern draw AC Milan in the quarter-finals.

<b>Coming up on Wednesday: Part II of our review of 2007, “Missed targets usher in major revamp”</b>
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