Created on 02-05-2013 at 00:00 AM
It took until the 77th minute at Camp Nou on Wednesday evening before the Bayern fans really began their celebrations. Their heroes in red were leading 3-0 and it had long been clear that the Bundesliga champions would be contesting the final in London on 25 May. But now captain Philipp Lahm left the field to deserved applause – without having seen a yellow card, meaning he avoided suspension for the Wembley showdown.
The supporters’ celebrations were tinged with relief, because none of Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez, Luiz Gustavo and unused substitutes Dante and Mario Gomez collected the booking which would have triggered an automatic ban. This season, all the players’ dreams of going to the final will be a reality.
“The lads were superb," an admiring Jupp Heynckes remarked, “it's almost the thing I'm most pleased about." Holger Badstuber, David Alaba and Gustavo were all forced to watch last year's final at the Allianz Arena from the stands due to one-match bans. The plan this time was to avoid the heartbreak at all costs, but that was never going to be easy in a semi-final second leg.
Smart and disciplined
But Lahm and company showed tremendous discipline to avoid incurring the Slovenian referee's wrath, and this although “every player threw himself 100 percent into the challenges at the start," commented Lahm, “we weren't yet through so no one bottled anything." Once Arjen Robin had scored the opener on 48 minutes, the outcome was barely in doubt, “so after that we were able to watch ourselves," Lahm continued.
Heynckes revealed afterwards that he had spoken to the endangered players several times in the build-up to the match. “It's perfectly possible to contest a semi-final second leg without being booked," insisted the coach, “we didn't just play fantastic football, we were also very smart, very disciplined, and refused to be provoked. Superb!"