Created on 20-03-2008 at 00:00 AM
Mark van Bommel manoeuvred within a couple of yards of the glittering DFB Cup during the warm-up, while Uli Hoeneß stole a lingering glance at the trophy in the course of a pre-match TV interview, but two halves of football later, the Munich club as a whole had taken a giant stride towards laying hands on the highly-prized object. Following Wednesday’s 2-0 semi-final win against VfL Wolfsburg, only Borussia Dortmund stand between the men in red and a 14th Cup triumph in the final on 19 April.
Even seasoned skipper Olli Kahn was moved to dance for joy in front of the south terrace faithful, as he contemplates a record seventh final at the end of an illustrious professional career. “I’ve never got the hang of these win celebrations,” he grinned. “He was definitely pleased,“ Miroslav Klose reported from the dressing room afterwards, and even Ottmar Hitzfeld declared himself “surprised that Olli jumped around like a youngster. It just show how much pressure has been released.“
Patient and composed
A meaningless defeat to Anderlecht and a shocker in Cottbus had placed Bayern on the brink of an unthinkable third reverse in a row. “Olli knows Bayern Munich is a sensitive object which can explode at any time. We’d have gone up in flames if we’d been knocked out tonight,” commented Hitzfeld, although his team efficiently snuffed out any threat posed by the visitors from Wolfsburg.
The 13-times Cup winners dominated the 90 minutes against the side with the best Bundesliga record since the winter break. “We were everywhere from start to finish. We were so focused that Wolfsburg hardly got close to our goal,” Hoeneß remarked. Added Hitzfeld: “We were always closer to scoring than Wolfsburg. We were patient and kept stepping up the pressure.“
Franck Ribéry (60) and Miroslav Klose (66) scored the goals as Bayern not only booked a trip to Berlin, but also erased the memory of the painful defeats. “After Cottbus I was afraid we might have hit a trough,” reflected Hoeneß, “but we talked about it this week, and the team showed the right reaction today.“
Hitzfeld praised his troops for restoring lost pride against Wolfsburg. “My players showed their true colours,” the head coach declared, hoping the berth in the final “will give us a real and major impulse. We’ve set ourselves a clear target. We want to add a second trophy to the League Cup in four weeks time, and that’ll be a huge boost for the championship too.“
Saturday versus Leverkusen
Bayern can take another step towards the Bundesliga title with a home win over third-placed Leverkusen on Saturday. “Today’s victory will give us a real lift,” Hitzfeld considered. “We can knock Leverkusen out of the title race,” added Kahn, “if we win, they’re nine points behind us.“
“We want the lot, the league, the Cup and the UEFA Cup, everything we can win,” the keeper continued, “that’s obviously my dream outcome.“ Bayern are slowly but surely coming close to realising their captain’s dream, as Hoeneß noted: “We’ll pick them off one after another.“ Hitzfeld’s former charges Borussia Dortmund stand in the way when Bayern go for the first leg of the triple on 19 April in Berlin.