Created on 10-04-2014 at 11:45 AM
Nothing could stop FCB marching on - not the opening goal, the pressure or even the Premier League side’s defence as Bayern overcame the resistance posed by Manchester United at the Allianz Arena. “Our team produced an outstanding performance today,” declared Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after the exciting and high-quality clash with the reigning English champions on Wednesday night. FCB deservedly went through to the semi-final stage for the third time on the trot after clocking up a 4-2 aggregate win over the two legs (3-1 at home and 1-1 at Old Trafford). The dream of retaining the Champions League crown lives on. “We’re happy to still be in the race,” said a delighted Rummenigge.
Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Chelsea are the three possible opponents in the last four with the draw to be held at midday on Friday. “It doesn’t matter who we play. We’re aiming to be in the final in Lisbon. We have the chance and we’d like to take it,” added Rummenigge.
Pep Guardiola was “very, very happy” and “very proud” of his team after the final whistle. “These players are great. We’re the champions of Germany. We’re in the semi-final,” rejoiced the FCB head coach who has led a team to the last four of the Champions League for fifth time in his five-year career as a coach. “It’s the best part of the season.”
Just 69 seconds
Matthias Sammer was also keen to praise the players. “You just have to admit this team is something special,” said the FCB sporting director. After securing the Bundesliga title so early it is normal to ease off in the league by “two or three percent”. But the team was back on song for the Champions League quarter-final tie. “You could see in training there was a big game coming up.”
The title holders refused to be derailed by the visitors taking a surprise lead with a wonderful Patrice Evra strike on 57 minutes. Mario Mandzukic levelled just 69 seconds later - a ‘fantastic’ reaction as Rummenigge and Sammer both vouched. “The goal got us going. The team reacted brilliantly,” said Thomas Müller. Philipp Lahm added: “The equaliser was crucial as we might have started to think: what happens if...? There was no time to think about it.”
The Reds were then put on course for a semi-final berth within fifteen minutes as Müller (68) and Arjen Robben (76) found the back of the United net. “You could feel our self-belief on the pitch,” explained David Alaba. Guardiola vouched for his players’ “big hearts” and Müller hit the nail on the head: “We’re just a great team and you can see it in situations like this.”
‘We’re just enjoying the moment’
“We kept plugging away in both games,” said the FCB striker in summing up the quarter-final clash against a very defensive Manchester United side. And the second leg was like “a little game of handball” for much of it. “We kept running up against a brick wall and you had to keep on trying to break through - and we did it in the end,” declared Man of the Match Robben (1 goal, 1 assist) as he looked ahead to the near future: “We’ve only got one more opponent before Lisbon.”
Bayern will know their European fate on Friday afternoon. And Saturday brings another big match in the Bundesliga, even though FCB have already crossed the finishing line. On Wednesday night, nobody was really ready to think about the next match. “We’re just enjoying the moment,” said Müller, “and then we’ll focus on Dortmund.”