Created on 20-04-2008 at 00:00 AM
It was already half-past one in the morning before Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, addressing the official post-match banquet at lead sponsor Deutsche Telekom’s Berlin headquarters, officially launched the celebratory part of the night: “I want to thank Ottmar Hitzfeld and the team. Your applause please, for a fine and emotional victory.“ Rummenigge looked happy, and indeed a little proud.
He had every reason to be, following Bayern’s 2-1 extra-time victory over courageous Borussia Dortmund, the 14th time Munich have collected the famous old trophy from 16 appearances in the final. “It’s been a fabulous footballing evening,” general manager Uli Hoeneß declared directly after the final whistle at the Olympic stadium in the capital, “I’m a happy man.“
”I’m overjoyed, because it was a dramatic game which had everything,” coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said at about the same time. Munich led through Luca Toni’s 13th-minute strike until the second minute of stoppage time, when Mladen Petric forced home an equaliser. Toni underlined his stunning form with the extra-time winner, completing the Italian’s fourth two-goal haul in as many games.
”I think we deserved the win. We were exceptional for the first half-hour, and then Dortmund came out fighting,” Rummenigge summarised. Hoeneß singled out the prolific Toni and keeper Oliver Kahn as the men who made the difference with “classy performances“.
Praise from Hoeneß
However, the result was also evidence of the current team’s winning mentality. “After a 91st-minute equaliser, you’ve got to fear the team’s morale could be broken. But that didn’t happen. They pulled themselves together immediately in extra-time, so hats off to the players,” commented Hoeneß, pointing out the additional physical burden faced by the men from Munich: “They’ve played 14 or 15 games more than Dortmund.“
”However, you can see we’re slowly but surely getting tired,” the board director continued. Bayern play five more games in the Bundesliga, where they could wrap up the title at home to VfB Stuttgart next weekend, and at least two in the UEFA Cup. The semi-final first leg at home to Zenit St. Petersburg takes place at the Allianz Arena in just five days’ time. Naturally, the men in red are hoping to add one more match to their schedule, the European final on 14 May.
Going for the triple
”Our target now is to win the other two trophies,” Hitzfeld declared. Rummenigge feels Munich have a decent chance: “We’re on a roll, and we need that to keep going. I hope Luca keeps on scoring. If so, we have a good chance of making it to Manchester.“ Hoeneß took a similar point of view. “I’m sure we’ll win the league. If we won the UEFA Cup as well, it would be a gigantic achievement.“ In that case, Bayern would probably earn a decent round of applause from a wider public than their own die-hard support.