Created on 04-04-2008 at 00:00 AM
“Unnecessary and annoying,” thought Lukas Podolski, “fatal,” groaned Uli Hoeneß, while Luca Toni was simply “pissed off“. Cosmin Contra’s 90th-minute equaliser to snatch a 1-1 draw for Getafe in Thursday’s UEFA Cup quarter-final first leg at the Allianz Arena left the Bayern camp fuming. The veteran Romanian’s last-gasp strike certainly makes Munich’s task in next week’s return dramatically more difficult than it need have been. “It’s also thrown a damper on our morale,” acknowledged Ottmar Hitzfeld, “but it’s no reason to hang our heads.“
The opposite should be the case, the Bayern coach continued. “We’ll be a little angry when we go there. We’ll be thinking it’s time to show them who’s boss,” the General opined. Oliver Kahn practically rubbed his hands with glee at the prospect. “We’re set for a fantastic European night, with all that involves,” declared the Munich skipper, “it definitely won’t be a 0-0 draw.“
State of anticipation
If it was to end scoreless Bayern would be out, so the men in red will go for goal in Getafe. “It’ll now be like a final,” said Hitzfeld, as his team face the prospect of genuine pressure in a UEFA Cup return leg for the first time this term. “It’ll be a closely-fought match and very, very difficult. I’m looking forward to it,” remarked Hoeneß, billing the match as a test of Bayern’s maturity. “A knock-out tie comprises two matches. A truly great team must be capable of winning the second.“
The first half on Thursday indicated that Bayern certainly have the means with which to defeat Getafe. The 62,000 at the Allianz Arena saw the home side create chance after chance, finally taking the lead courtesy of Luca Toni’s eighth goal of the competition on 26 minutes. “We played really well in the first half and should have led 2-0 at half-time. We created chances every two or three minutes,“ Hitzfeld reflected.
Too many gaps
However, Bayern neglected to add a second, despite what Hitzfeld described as “amazing chances on the break” in the second half. “It was no surprise we ran into trouble after that,” Hoeneß pointed out, although Bayern protected their lead until the last minute before Contra netted. “But you felt the goal was bound to come,” mused Lukas Podolski.
Indeed, Bayern began to lose their shape a little before the first half was out, as large gaps opened up between the various areas of the team. “The spaces became too large to fill, which made it difficult to keep control of the game,” commented Mark van Bommel. Getafe were quick to exploit the gaps and created a number of presentable chances, before “a chain reaction of defensive mistakes“ (Hitzfeld) finally paved the way for the not undeserved equaliser.
’We’ll get through’
“We have only ourselves to blame,” lamented Bastian Schweinsteiger, a sentiment echoed by Marcell Jansen: “We either had to wrap it up, or else keep it tight enough to protect the lead until the final whistle.“ Bayern will now look to bring home considerably better results against Bochum on Sunday, and a week from now in Getafe.
No-one in the Munich camp is contemplating elimination from Europe. “Everyone’s talking as if we were already out,” complained Van Bommel, preferring to take the line adopted by Kahn: “There’s still everything to play for. We’ll get through, even if it takes penalties.“