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Reds’ footballing magic

Majestic Munich roar into last four

The Allianz Arena has provided a magnificent stage for some truly great moments over the last decade, Roy Maakay’s opener after just 10.1 seconds of  Bayern’s Champions League Round of 16 meeting with Real Madrid in 2007, or the phenomenal 4-0 thrashing of mighty Barcelona on the way to winning the trophy in 2013, just to take two examples. But as of now, the 21st of April 2015 will take its place among the most cherished memories, because Bayern’s 6-1 demolition of FC Porto in the Champions League quarter-final return truly deserves to be called footballing magic.

“I’ve not experienced many nights like that, and I’ve been around for a while,” declared Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, “it’s one of those evenings where you go home and say to yourself: what we’ve seen today is like a dream.” The 3-1 reverse in Porto last week left many pundits speculating that Bayern would be knocked out of the competition, “but then we’ve gone and won it the way we did. I’m simply overjoyed,” the chairman continued.

Germany’s biggest club are through to the Champions League semi-finals for the fourth time in a row, a first for the Reds. “We had to put a few things right,” commented Jérôme Boateng, now the competition’s most prolific defender this term with three goals and three assists. “I think that was obvious from the start.”

Porto were left bewildered and chasing shadows as Bayern catapulted off the blocks and scored an astonishing five times in a majestic first half. Thiago (14), Boateng (22), Robert Lewandowski (27, 40) and Thomas Müller (36) got the goals. “We hit the groove after the early opening goal. After that we worked ourselves into a frenzy in every sense of the phrase,” Rummenigge stated.

Reds aiming high

“Absolutely everything worked out perfectly. No-one thought we’d be leading 5-0 at half-time,” commented Manuel Neuer, who was powerless to prevent Jackson Martínez scoring Porto’s 73rd-minute consolation. Captain Philipp Lahm praised the team for their “big hearts, passion and aggression” as they tore their opponents apart. “We were all 100 percent up for it and utterly determined to make the semis,” added Mario Götze. Xabi Alonso’s 88th-minute free-kick banished any last lingering doubts and also rounded off the scoring.

“In recent days we’ve sensed we would do it,” revealed boss Pep Guardiola at the post-match press conference, “it’s madness. Many thanks to my players.” Every man pulled his weight on Tuesday, “so it was an excellent team performance,” according to Thomas Müller. Lewandowski continued to mine a rich vein of form with his first Champions League brace in a Bayern shirt.

“We were really terrific,” the Polish striker said, “we’re FC Bayern. We can do everything! We want to win the lot!” The Champions League included, of course, but much toil and effort still lies ahead. “Whoever we get next, it’ll be harder,” warned Rummenigge. Bayern are not especially concerned about the identity of their next opponents, but as of Tuesday night, one thing is clear: “We may not be the team anyone wants to face next.”