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Defeat dealt with

FCB vow fight to the end against Barca

“Give it everything on Tuesday – we’re behind you all the way!” That was the rallying call on a banner at the Allianz Arena when FCB hosted Augsburg on Saturday, a statement from the fans making clear that the Bundesliga fixture three days prior to the Champions League semi-final return against Barcelona was not their top priority. Nevertheless, Pep Guardiola fielded a near full strength team for the Bavarian derby. “The players weren’t yet on holiday,” the Spaniard stated, but at the end of the day the champions were obliged to accept a 1-0 victory to the lively visitors.

“We’re not putting away our chances at the moment,” lamented Philipp Lahm. The captain was substituted after just 14 minutes, allowing Manuel Neuer to replace Pepe Reina in goal after the backup keeper saw a red card for a foul as last man. Mario Götze (9) and Robert Lewandowski (44) both hit the woodwork, but Raul Bobadilla won it for FCA with a neat backheel on 70 minutes.

Bayern are now without a win in four, although the league title is already in the bag and the reverse against Augsburg ultimately mattered little. However, a win would have been a boost to morale prior to the Barça return. “We were committed, we weren’t just looking to do the minimum,” commented Thomas Müller, “although naturally we weren’t expecting to be down to ten men after quarter of an hour.”

‘It’s not over yet'

Afterwards, down in the Allianz Arena Mixed Zone, talk of the afternoon’s match soon gave way to forecasts and debate about the Barcelona showdown. “Unbelievable things happen in football sometimes,” observed Bastian Schweinsteiger. There is still a glimmer of hope despite a very, very tough situation in the tie. “We have to give everything we’ve got. We’ve shown often enough what we’re capable of here in Munich. It’s not over yet and we’ll battle to the end,” Lewandowski declared.

Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge spoke of a “crushingly small” chance, but football occasionally throws up “so-called matches of the century. Our duty is to give it our all, and if it’s not enough, we can’t change it.” Müller is counting on the passionate home support, who serenaded their heroes for minutes even after the defeat to Augsburg. “It was a great feeling after the match,” the World Cup winner said, “we all know it’s a mammoth task, but we haven’t given up on it!”