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Praise for 'fabulous' fans

Sammer: We'll soon be back on our feet

Even after 81 minutes of the match at the Allianz Arena the Bayern fans were still in good voice. “We’re proud of our team, halleluja!” they sang. FCB were 3-0 down at home to Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final second leg and the dream of progressing to the final in Lisbon was long gone. The match ended with the Spanish giants winning 4-0, the Reds’ biggest home defeat in the history of the premier European club competition. But the fans continued to look on the bright side.

“I have to thank the fans. They put in a great shift and provided wonderful support,” declared chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in praise of the FCB supporters in the 68,000 capacity crowd, who took part in a breathtaking fan mosaic before kick-off and then unceasingly got behind their FCB team throughout the match. “Unfortunately, we didn't do enough,” continued Rummenigge. “We lacked the necessary degree of commitment to pose our opponents any real problems.”

Not as dominant

“Press forward, play our game and score goals,” demanded Arjen Robben ahead of the match against Real as Bayern aimed to turn round a 1-0 deficit from the first leg to progress to the Champions League final for the fourth time in five years. But it wasn't to be. “We had high hopes. The mood in the camp was very good and the fans gave us their support. We attacked from the start but then we conceded two goals. You know you've got no chance at that point,” said a disappointed Robben after the match.

In contrast to last week's first leg in Madrid the holders were not as dominant as usual on home turf. “The reason we lost was we didn't have any possession,” vouched Bayern coach Pep Guardiola. “You don't stand a chance against Real's great players if you don't control the game,” continued the 43-year-old Spaniard who accepted responsibility for the defeat against his fellow countrymen. “We didn't have many chances today. We played badly, that's my responsibility, I got it wrong.”

'A huge disappointment'

Central defender Sergio Ramos destroyed all hope of Bayern retaining their European title early on with two headed goals from set pieces on 16 and 20 minutes. “Then you stand there and look at each other thinking: what's going on here?” said Thomas Müller, describing the double whammy from the Spaniards. World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo sealed the first win for Real in Munich in ten attempts with goals on 34 and 89 minutes. “Losing 4-0 at home is a hammer blow. It's a huge disappointment,” explained Robben.

“We were shown our limitations today,” said Rummenigge in recognising the superiority of the Spanish side. “They not only succeeded in snuffing out our offensive play but they also put us in trouble with the pace of their players. Real Madrid are a great team at the moment.” And sporting director Matthias Sammer conceded after the game that Real “deserved to win both games. We have to congratulate them in situations like that, stand up and admit we deserved to lose. We don't like being the losers but we have to accept that the other team was better than us.”

Up for the cup

After 38 games in succession in the Champions League FCB will have to return to a watching brief on 24 May. “We got to the final three times in the past five years and the semi-finals four times. I'm sorry we’re out, but I'm still proud of my team,” said Robben pointing out that Bayern have made the last four every season since 2010. And Thomas Müller added: “We won’t let our heads drop. We've been successful over the past year and a half and now we've suffered a setback. We're not going to hide away for the next three weeks. At the end of the day it was a Champions League semi-final.”

And the Bayern camp is focused on looking forward after the semi-final exit rather than spending too much time “licking our wounds” (Rummenigge). “We've got to get back on our feet,” said Sammer seeking two “decent” performances in the remaining Bundesliga fixtures against Hamburg SV and VfB Stuttgart to put the Reds in shape for the DFB Cup final against Borussia Dortmund on 17 May. “We want to win the cup, because we want to turn a good season into a very good one,” Sammer declared.