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Rummenigge’s rallying cry:

‘The team must go to the limit and beyond’

Two days prior to the Champions League quarter-final first leg away to Barcelona, the Bayern camp was keen to move on from a sobering weekend defeat to Wolfsburg, focusing instead on the midweek European showdown. “We’ve spent the last two days suffering, so now we’ll try and pick ourselves up in Barcelona,” commented Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on Monday, although the chairman remained nothing if not realistic: “It’s almost a Mission Impossible, but we know from experience that miracles and upsets do happen in football.”

To maximise the chances of a miracle, Rummenigge called on the FCB players to bounce back from Saturday’s setback when they run out at Camp Nou on Wednesday. “We now absolutely expect the team to go to the limit and beyond,” he declared, “it’s up to the team now. The team must start taking responsibility.”

Backing for Klinsmann

Coach Jürgen Klinsmann demanded much the same thing in his post-match analysis on Sunday: “Every player has to accept responsibility and put his head above the parapet. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last ten months.” Rummenigge was in agreement: “The coach has taken enough criticism from the media. The players are the ones out on the field.”

In the aftermath of the 5-1 defeat to Wolfsburg, Rummenigge voiced complete support for Klinsmann’s decision no longer to shield his players from critical scrutiny. “I can understand his change of course. I think it’s very smart to increase the pressure on the players a little.”

Close observation

Just like the coach, the chairman will spend the next few weeks “watching very closely how the players react to the pressure situation, and in doubtful cases, we’ll raise some painful issues.” Speaking on Sunday, Klinsmann warned that “the players need to be aware there’ll be consequences at some point.”