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Through to Cup semis

Dramatic derby win ‘both merited and lucky’

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You’d expect a decent turnout on your 108th birthday, and sure enough, Bayern welcomed 69,000 guests to the Allianz Arena on the day marking 108 years since the club was founded. However, few could have predicted what a memorable and enthralling party it would turn out to be.

To a noisy, colourful and fevered backdrop probably beating anything seen at the stadium so far, Bayern and TSV 1860 Munich played out one of the most thrilling local derbies in living memory. “You can't ask for a more entertaining game than that,” commented Uli Hoeneß. “It was legendary,“ added Oliver Kahn after 120 action-packed minutes including two disallowed goals, three sendings-off and an inexorably increasing sense of drama, culminating in the winning goal from a twice-taken penalty two minutes into time added on at the end of extra-time.

Better start by Lions

Goalscorer Franck Ribéry not only wrote himself into Munich derby lore, he earned Bayern a 20th German Cup semi-final appearance and their first-ever derby victory at the Allianz Arena. “The atmosphere was much more intense than in previous derbies,” observed Daniel van Buyten, after joining his team-mates in wild celebrations in front of the south terrace at the end of the match.

“I’m proud of the team,” enthused Mark van Bommel after Bayern’s 105th triumph in the 204th derby. “The late goal showed we believed in ourselves and the possibility of winning right until the end,” added Ottmar Hitzfeld, although the Reds coach was far from satisfied with his side’s first-half performance. “1860 were the better team in the first half-hour,” Hitzfeld conceded. Van Bommel agreed: “We had a very poor first twenty minutes.“

Same all season

The General bemoaned his team’s carelessness with possession and lack of invention: “We found hardly any answers to the Lions’ packed defence.“ Hitzfeld responded by moving Toni Kroos from the left flank to the hole behind the front two after 20 minutes. “That was a great move. We controlled the game after that,” Van Bommel remarked.

Bayern’s dominance steadily increased from then on, but as so often recently, clear-cut openings went begging. “The game was an exact reflection of what we’re missing this term. We almost always dominate, but at the end of the day we get nothing for it,” lamented Kahn, “it’s tough going and problematic right now.“ Luca Toni’s correctly disallowed brace (38, 46) only served to increase the frustration.

Stung by dismissal

In any case, it was not to be the leading scorer’s night, as referee Peter Gagelmann brandished the red card at the Italian for a second bookable offence on 84 minutes. “The players aren’t monks,” Hoeneß raged, but the sending off stung the Reds into action. “The motivation rises and the adrenaline flows,” Van Buyten argued.

Even with ten men, the Bundesliga leaders continued their dominance, before the sides became numerically equal again after 111 minutes when the Blues’ Benny Schwarz also received his marching orders for an off-the-ball dig at Ribéry. “We stepped up a gear after that,” Van Bommel reported, and Bayern’s incessant pressure duly paid off right at the end.

Definite penalty

The match official, who might easily have blown for a penalty when Lucio was fouled six minutes from the end of normal time, finally pointed to the spot when Chhunly Pagenburg felled Klose with the 120 minutes already up. “It was on the line, and that’s part of the box,” Hitzfeld declared. The third sending off of the evening, another double yellow affair for 1860 centre-half Markus Thorandt, had no real bearing on the result.

“After half-time, we controlled the play better, had more of the possession and created more chances, even with ten men,” Hitzfeld opined. The late goal meant the victory was “lucky“, the coach acknowledged, but due to the number of chances, also “fully merited“, Hoeneß argued.

Praise for 1860

“It wasn’t an undeserved victory, although right now it’s a bitter defeat for us,” reflected 1860 boss Marco Kurz, as the compliments poured in for his willing and passionate team. “The Lions gave a good account of themselves and made life very difficult for us,” acknowledged Hitzfeld. “1860 played way above themselves today. But in the last ten minutes of extra-time, we invested a shade more than they did, and the victory was ultimately deserved,” analysed Kahn.

A place in the last four was the best birthday present Bayern could have desired, but otherwise, a ninth consecutive competitive victory over the Blues merely confirmed what the red majority at the ground already knew. “Bayern were the number one team in Munich before this, and will always be the number one team in Munich,” Hitzfeld declared.