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Reaction to United v Bayern

Van Gaal: We showed hallmarks of a great team

Bayern are through to the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2001. “We said it beforehand: we could go a long way this season,” commented Arjen Robben, whose stunning goal fifteen minutes from time ultimately sent FCB into the last four at Manchester United’s expense.

However, things looked bleak for the visitors as Manchester United raced into a 3-0 lead at Old Trafford. Even Franz Beckenbauer said he would not have wagered “a single cent more on Bayern. But the way they turned it round was fantastic. That’s one of the nicest defeats in the history of Bayern.” Karl-Heinz Rummenigge praised the team’s “desire, energy and passion”. Coach Louis van Gaal was pleased with the second-half display: “We played the way a great team does.”

Reaction to United v Bayern:

Franz Beckenbauer: “We were asleep at the start, as they say. United were superior in every respect. When they went 3-0 up I wouldn’t have put a single cent more on Bayern. But the way they turned it round was fantastic.. Two incidents settled the tie: Olic’s goal just before half-time, and Rafael’s sending off. Bayern calmed things down after that, let the ball do the work, and Robben’s scored a dream goal. We used the extra man very well indeed. That’s one of the nicest defeats in the history of Bayern.”

Uli Hoeneß: “Pulling a goal back just before half-time was vital. After the sending off, it was obvious Manchester were going to struggle. The team were clever, they didn’t go for it hell for leather, they waited for their chance. And having got the goal, they ran down the clock very skilfully. The mark of this team and the coach is that they never lose their belief. Up in the stands, you never had the feeling it might end up as a disaster. That was great stuff.”

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: “All praise to the team. You have to take your hat off to the desire, energy and passion they’re showing at the present time. Ivica’s goal before half-time was worth its weight in gold. It gave us hope, and sowed the seeds of doubt in United’s minds. Robben’s goal was a belter, not the kind of thing you see every day. We’ve been all but out of this season’s Champions League a couple of times, thinking back to Turin and Florence. And we were out again tonight. But this team has incredible desire and passion – attributes which can clearly take you a long way.”

Louis van Gaal: “Naturally, I’m proud. We were 3-0 down, so what we’ve achieved in the second half is unbelievable. But we have to be awake right from the start, just like I told my players beforehand. Fortunately, Ivica Olic scored a very good goal. We were outstanding in the second half. We’re mentally strong, we were tactically smart and we were aggressive. It’s not always easy against ten men. We played the way a great team does. Robben’s goal was just amazing.”

Arjen Robben: “When we went 3-0 down, I did think we were in for a tough evening. We simply didn’t show up for the first half, despite everything we said before the game. We knew what to expect in this hostile atmosphere. Olic’s goal restored our confidence. We said it beforehand: we could go a long way this season.”

Bastian Schweinsteiger: “The start reminded me a bit of Barcelona a year ago, where we also conceded two early goals. Ivica’s goal was incredibly important, it restored our belief. At half-time, we vowed to go out and play like men. The sending off obviously helped us too. Manchester have a fantastic stadium with tremendous fans, who got right behind them the whole time. But we resisted the tide.”