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Battle with Bremen

On-fire Olic has personal score to settle

Ivica Olic is Louis van Gaal’s tireless worker, a player who runs and chases until he appears fit to drop, but then gets up and does it all again, a player who the coach reckons is “always on fire”, and who team-mate Thomas Müller thinks is “football crazy”. Naturally, Olic used his sporting attributes to the full at Bayern’s wild title celebration. “I gave it everything at the party,” he reported on Monday.

The Croat is on cloud nine at the present time. The scenes of elation and joy after the final whistle in Berlin on Saturday were “unbelievable”, he declared. That was followed by a “hefty night” and the mass celebration with “an unbelievable number of fans” in Munich. “I’ve never experienced anything like that before, and I’ll certainly never forget it,” he said, blown away by the reception afforded the team. “I made a lot of calls back home to Croatia, and told them it was just complete madness!”

Total focus on Bremen

But for now, one of the biggest parties Munich has seen in recent times has come to an end. “It was fabulous and I’ll never forget it. But it’s over,” acknowledged Olic, acutely aware of unfinished business this season. The DFB Cup final against Werder Bremen takes place in Berlin this Saturday, and that was now the only thing that mattered, the 30-year-old insisted. The Champions League final in Madrid a week later will have to wait.

“Werder Bremen are on very, very good form. It won’t be easy,” warned Olic, nursing less than happy memories of Bremen, who finished the Bundesliga season in third. The striker appeared for Hamburg against Werder in last season’s DFB Cup semi-finals, but HSV were beaten 4-2 on penalties. Olic had earlier scored to make it 1-1 in normal time, but saw his shoot-out effort saved by Bremen keeper Tim Wiese.

Superb first season

“I was in the team knocked out in the semi-finals by Bremen a year ago. This is the chance to win,” Ivica declared, making no secret of his personal desire for revenge over the northerners. There’s also the matter of Olic’s own cup record this term. It is the only competition in which he has failed to score, although he has in fact only contested one cup tie.

Otherwise, his first season at Bayern has been exceptional, not only because he has added a German league winner’s medal to the Croatian and Russian versions he already owns, but also for his significant contribution to FCB’s historic treble push. In 39 appearance, Olic has garnered an impressive 27 scorer points (18 goals and nine assists), and he could yet finish top scorer in the Champions League, where Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi leads by a single goal.

Hungry for more

Olic netted yet again in the final match of the league season in Berlin last weekend, emphasising his current surging form. He is also desperate for more silverware. “We don’t want to stop at one trophy, we want the lot. You don’t get a chance like this very often,” declared the tireless Croat, concluding with a promise for Saturday’s cup final: “I’ll give everything I have to help us win.”