Created on 12-03-2015 at 11:30 AM
All the FCB players were heroes on Wednesday night, but the South Terrace loyalists singled out one man for special adulation. “Badstuber! Badstuber!” they chanted, summoning the Munich youth product for a special round of applause. It was deserved: fully 841 days after his last Champions League starting appearance, a 1-1 away draw with Valencia on 20 November 2012, the defender made a remarkable comeback in the competition, crowned with a rare goal.
“It was a fantastic feeling. I don’t score very often. I really didn’t know how I should celebrate,” revealed Badstuber, still in a whirl following the 7-0 demolition of Shakhtar Donetsk. His 63rd-minute strike was a classic for the big defender as Rafinha sent over an inch-perfect cross from the right. Holger brushed off his marker, took a couple of steps forward and met the ball with a powerful header, making the score 5-0 to the home team. It was Badstuber’s first-ever goal in the Champions League.
“The goal was just the icing on the cake,” the player said with typical modesty afterwards. As always, he preferred to emphasise the team’s success. “It was much more important that we made the next round,” said the Bavarian native, making no secret of his relief after the one-sided encounter with the Ukrainian champions. “If you’ve come away from the first leg with a dangerous result but go on to complete the job at home, it’s obviously a great weight off your shoulders.”
Badstuber’s performance was the talk of the mixed zone after the match. “He’s my personal hero,” declared Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, “if you’ve had the year and a half he’s had but keep coming back… he deserves all the support he’s getting from the south terrace.” Badstuber said the chairman’s words of praise were “wonderful, because it’s not something you get automatically. I’ve always said I want to repay the club’s faith by delivering the goods.”
Every man in the Bayern squad was delighted for their team-mate. “I’m so pleased Holger’s back. He’s a superb footballer and a great personality,” commented Bastian Schweinsteiger. “Holger isn’t just important to FC Bayern, but to Germany as well.” Badstuber, ever the team player, countered: “I’m just pleased to be making a contribution to our success. I want to keep going from here.”