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Robben's last-gasp strike sends FCB through

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Robben's last-gasp strike sends FCB through

Postby FCBayernNews » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:10 pm

Bayern were pushed all the way before overcoming second division Bochum in a pulsating DFB Cup Round of 16 tie on Tuesday evening, Arjen Robben's stoppage-time goal ultimately sealing a quarter-final berth for the 15-time winners in a narrow triumph for class over sheer determination and effort.

The 29,299 capacity crowd at Rewirpower Stadium saw the home side put up stiff, hard-working resistance to their opponents' superior footballing skills in the first half, Giovanni Federico handing the underdogs a shock 26th-minute lead with their first real chance.

Jupp Heynckes clearly used some choice words in the dressing room at the interval, as the men from Munich came out for the second period bristling with intent and equalised seven minutes into the half through Toni Kroos, played in superbly by half-time sub Mario Gomez. It was end-to-end stuff in a cracking finish to the match, before the outstanding Franck Ribery set up Robben to settle it in the first minute of added time.

The hard-earned win sends FCB into the draw for the quarter-finals, to be held on Wednesday evening on completion of the last sixteen ties. The Munich stars now head off on their holiday break, before reporting back for the flight to the mid-season training camp in Doha on 2 January. Bayern's next competitive match is the Bundesliga restart fixture away to Borussia Mönchengladbach on 20 January.

In the final match of the year, Heynckes opted for a spot of rotation and made three changes to the side which beat Köln 3-0 last Friday. Thomas Müller joined Bastian Schweinsteiger and Breno on the injury roster, with Luiz Gustavo drafted in to the reshaped midfield. Jerome Boateng took over at full-back from Rafinha, and Ivica Olic led the line in favour of the rested Gomez.

Otherwise, Manuel Neuer kept goal as usual, with Philipp Lahm, Daniel van Buyten and Holger Badstuber completing the back four, Gustavo partnering Anatoliy Tymoshchuk in the holding positions, Kroos in the hole, and Arjen Robben and Ribery on the flanks, as the Frenchman's sending-off against Köln in the league had no effect on his eligibility for the cup.

For the home side, boss Andreas Bergmann included former Munich youth Bjorn Kopplin, who was Thomas Müller's room-mate when the pair played for the FCB Under-19s. The two were destined for a reunion too, as Bayern assistant coach and Bochum legend Hermann Gerland persuaded his former reserve striker Müller to make the trip despite his injury.

Once referee Michael Weiner whistled the match underway on a chilly, wet night in the Ruhr valley, the difference in footballing class between the sides swiftly became apparent, although the home side drew inspiration from their raucous support and restricted the Bundesliga leaders to half-chances early on. Tymoshchuk saw a shot deflected, Olic steered a free header wide of the target, and Gustavo aimed a drive straight at VfL keeper Andreas Luthe.

But the second division side sniffed their chance when Christoph Kramer, left criminally alone by the FCB defence, came within a whisker of opening the scoring midway through the half. Bochum went one better on 26 minutes when Takashi Inui and Mirkan Aydin combined superbly to leave Federico with a simple tap-in at the far post.

Bayern responded angrily to the setback, but Robben headed over the bar, Kroos thundered a drive into the crowd behind Luthe's goal, and Jonas Acquistapace deflected a Ribery cross just wide of his own goal. Robben had a huge shout for a penalty waved away after what looked like a clear trip by Marcel Maltritz, but the winger made a shade too much of it and picked up a card for diving instead.

The visitors laid siege to the home goal in the run-up to the break, but there was to be no breakthrough and the sides turned round with VfL a goal up. Heynckes reacted at half-time and sent on Gomez and David Alaba for Olic and Gustavo, and the second half started with a bang as Luthe saved at the near post from Ribery, and Boateng saw his effort come back off the bar.

But there was real fire in the visitors' bellies now, Ribery curling a free-kick agonisingly wide, before Kroos twice exchanged delicious passes with Gomez and levelled things up with a cool finish into the far corner beyond Luthe's outstretched left hand. Lahm shot straight at the Bochum keeper as FCB sought an immediate second, but VfL were far from buried yet and sub Daniel Ginczek drew a decent save from Neuer, before Inui shot wide.

However, Ribery and Gomez were motoring now, and veteran Slawo Freier was forced into a couple of desperate blocks to save his side, before Rafinha took over from Boateng for the last 20 minutes. A trademark Robben cross-shot whistled inches wide, and Ribery's umpteenth mazy dribble ended in a forest of legs, but VfL still put up heroic resistance and the atmosphere remained at fever pitch.

The game seemed destined for extra-time, especially after Kroos hit the defensive wall with a free-kick after the tiring Maltritz tripped Ribery outside the box with a minute to go, but there was a final twist when Lahm intercepted Christoph Dabrowski's wayward pass and fed Ribery, who thrust into the box and crossed for Robben to win it with a precise low shot.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley
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