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'I'm loving it'

Chorus of praise for high-jumping Jerome

Could Jérôme Boateng have made it as a high jumper? We'll never know, although given the towering leap produced by the World Cup winner in his ecstasy after scoring the last-minute winner against Manchester City, there is evidence to suggest a career in athletics might have been a goer. A thumping drive, an explosive sprint and a gigantic jump spectacularly marked Jerome's maiden goal in the Champions League and brought the Allianz Arena to boiling point for the first time in the new season.

“We kept on believing right to the end,” the centre-back declared afterwards, “and the ball sat up just right for me. I thought to myself: I'll blast that one home.” Just seconds earlier Boateng had unleashed a terrific long-range effort, drawing a fine save out of City keeper Joe Hart. “We all know Jérôme has a great shot on him,” commented Manuel Neuer.

The winning goal in the 90th minute was just reward for a superb individual display. “No-one deserved it more than Jérome Boateng,” enthused Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, “he was the best player on the pitch. He had an unbelievable game.” The stats support that point of view: central defender Boateng loosed off three shots at goal, touched the ball more often than any other player (105 times) and won practically all his challenges.

A season with City

“I'm feeling good and I'm continuing to work hard on my game,” Boateng said in typically modest fashion, although he did admit it was a “special evening. I'm loving it!” The player’s maiden European strike in his 32nd Champions League appearance was even more tasty as it came against one of his former clubs. “I'm just delighted for the team," Jerome commented, “winning your opening match is very important."

Boateng is not the kind of man to blow his own trumpet, but coach Pep Guardiola sang his player’s praises at the post-match press conference. “I've often said to him: if you want to be one of the best centre backs in the world, you can do it. He's young, quick, good on the ball and he's two footed. He has everything. He was outstanding at the World Cup and he’s maintained his form. He's getting better with every year!”

Boateng’s team-mates echoed the boss's comments. “He summoned up all his courage,” revealed Neuer, “goalscoring isn't exactly a routine matter for defenders. I'm delighted, especially as he scored off his boot.” Arjen Robben joined in the chorus of praise: “Jérôme had a superb match.” And he even had the energy for an extraordinary celebration...