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Season review, part II: Champions muddle through to Christma

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Season review, part II: Champions muddle through to Christma

Postby FCBayernNews » Sun Dec 31, 2006 4:45 pm

31.12.2006

In the first half of the new season, described by boss Felix Magath as "thoroughly satisfactory, apart from the German Cup," Bayern contested 28 matches, winning 16, drawing six and losing six. Naturally, the bald statistics conceal any number of twists and sub-plots, so <b>fcbayern.de</b> has cast a detailed eye back over the 2006-7 campaign to date. The second part of our review recalls the Reds' stately progress through the Champions League group stage, ups and downs in the Bundesliga, and a major disappointment directly before the winter break.

<b>Bayern's season to date, part II</b>

<b>27 September: 'A massive and significant win'</b>
Directly after going top of the Bundesliga, Bayern travelled to face Internazionale in Milan and came away with a famous 2-0 victory. "That was a massive and significant win," Karl-Heinz Rummenigge enthused after watching his side's first success on Italian soil in 18 years. The Bavarians flew home from Lisbon after a 1-0 victory over Sporting three weeks later to establish a commanding lead at the top of Champions League Group B.

<b>8 November: Domestic difficulties</b>
The win in Portugal ushered in a turbulent period on home soil for the German champions, as Bayern struggled for consistency and lost ground in the Bundesliga. The men from Munich also laboured to dispose of second division Kaiserslautern in the German Cup. "We're in a very precarious, very difficult situation," Oliver Kahn warned. The captain's worst fears were realised on 8 November when Munich lost 1-0 to Hanover at the Allianz Arena, the double winners' first home defeat to a side lying bottom of the table in 21 years. That meant Bayern had lost four of their first 11 league fixtures, a dismal record last seen back in 1974-5, and found themselves six points off the lead.

<b>11 November: The turning point</b>
The troublesome situation came within minutes of developing into a full-blown crisis on 11 November, with Bayern 2-1 down in Leverkusen just seven minutes from full time. But the champions dug deep and came away with a 3-2 victory, "which shows we're on the way back to the Bayern of old," Felix Magath commented, with what turned out to be exceptional foresight.

<b>5 December: Top of the Group</b>
Draws with Lisbon and Moscow left Bayern needing only a similar outcome at home to Inter on the final Champions League group matchday to be certain of winning the section. A 1-1 final score was enough to see the Reds into the knockout round undefeated and as group winners for the first time in five years. The "reward" for the Bavarians' efforts is a glamour tie with Real Madrid.

<b>16 December: Festive frolics</b>
Bayern rounded off an inconsistent league campaign with a flourish, beating Mainz 4-0 away from home for their biggest win of the calendar year and sealing a run of five wins in six games to move within three points of winter table-toppers Bremen. "Provided we play like that, there's no question where the title will end up," Magath reasoned, as the Reds prepared to spend the mid-season break in third place.

<b>20 December: Ending on a sour note</b>
Back in the summer, Uli Hoeneß warned that the team would need to "muddle through" the first half of the campaign, but the situation in the Bundesliga and Champions League ended more positively than that. However, there was to be a setback directly before the winter break, when the German Cup holders were unluckily knocked out of this term's competition 4-2 by Alemannia Aachen. "We're obviously disappointed, but I can't criticise the team," Hoeneß declared after watching a run of 14 straight Cup victories come to an end. Shortly after the final whistle, the players were already looking to the future. "We'll take time out to regroup, then we'll be back with a bang," Mark van Bommel promised.

<i>Now read <a href="/en/news/news/2006/10278.php?fcb_sid=dcedf47a237474b93b006fe970a656cb" target="_top" class="content_link"><b>Part I</b></a> of our exclusive review of the season to date.</i>
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