Created on 20-12-2007 at 00:00 AM
After a turbulent phase at the club, Bayern rounded off the year 2007 in roistering style with a 6-0 victory over Aris Salonika, sealing an ultimately comfortable passage to the UEFA Cup Round of 32 as Group F winners.
Ottmar Hitzfeld was understandably elated after Wednesday’s one-sided encounter at the Allianz Arena. “I’m delighted we’ve made up for what our fans have been through with a festival of goals. We looked fresh and lively, we were superior to our opponents in terms of physique and desire, and the goals followed automatically from that,“ the General enthused after Munich’s biggest win of the season so far.
Toni singled out
The 58-year-old coach singled out four-goal Luca Toni for special praise. “Luca Toni instinctively knows where the ball’s going to go. He’s ruthless in front of goal, and always takes two or three defenders out of the game. The slippery surface also made it difficult for the goalkeeper. Palming it away to the side would have been much the better option.“
After a patchy series of results in the Bundesliga, Hitzfeld had one slight regret: “I wish we’d scored one or two of our goals in previous matches.” He remained a happy man, “because that’s released the pressure and we can prepare for the second half of the season in peace.“
No word on future
Hitzfeld will now continue to guide his men in their pursuit of silverware on three fronts, but declined to confirm whether he will still be at the Bayern helm next term. “Obviously, I’ve made a personal decision as to what happens next, but I won’t be informing Bayern of that decision until the end of January. I have a contract until 30 June 2008, I’ll definitely be with Bayern for the second half of the season, and I’ll invest all my energies in winning a trophy or two.“
The turmoil of recent weeks had been tough, the coach acknowledged, “but speculation about potential successors is all part of this job. I specifically agreed an extension for one year only, allowing me to make a considered decision in my own good time.“
Hitzfeld’s Aris Salonika counterpart, Serbian boss Dujan Bajevic, was a model of dejection after the events of Wednesday evening. “That was a heavy defeat. We’ve had a very poor evening, and that was easily our worst group game. This Aris team is better than we appeared today. But pulling every man back and playing solely for the point we needed wouldn’t have fitted with our philosophy.”