FCB 'confident' for Juve return

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The FCB pros received warm applause as they entered the Sala delle Feste in the team hotel for the traditional midnight banquet late on Tuesday night. One and a half hours after the 2-2 draw in the Champions League Round of 16 first leg in Turin the VIP fans and partners made sure the team received a worthy reception.

“I think we saw a magnificent match today,” said chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in his address, speaking of “one of the best Champions League last sixteen ties I've ever seen.” The draw was “a very, very good result which keeps the door to the quarter-finals very, very open,” according to Rummenigge, who was “confident that the team and our coaching staff will wrap things up in three weeks.”

One hour according to plan

The 41,332 capacity crowd at the Juventus Stadium saw the German record champions dominate their Italian counterparts for 60 minutes. Thomas Müller (43) and Arjen Robben (55) turned the Bavarians' superiority into a deserved 2-0 lead. “The pattern was perfect in the first 60 minutes,” declared Philipp Lahm after his 100th appearance in Europe's elite club competition. The “plan worked well,” according to the FCB skipper, especially in the first hour: Juventus rarely ventured out of their own half.

But then the tide turned. Bayern lost control, and Paulo Dybala (63) and Stefano Sturaro (76) brought Juve back into the game. “We can take heart from the first 60 minutes, it was a very, very good display. Unfortunately, we practically invited them to score after that,” analysed Lahm: “When you're 2-0 in the lead you want more,” but as “two good teams” clashed on Tuesday evening, the draw was “a good result” from a Bayern point of view.

Favourites for the return

“We weren't able to be as dominant in the second half,” scorer Müller said, annoyed that FCB failed to wrap up the tie in the first leg. “It was a good display with a slightly annoying result,” added the Germany international: “Our position for the return is decent to good. Nevertheless there's a pinch of anger and bitterness involved. You don't go to sleep 100 percent satisfied.”

Chairman Rummenigge stressed the positive aspects, satisfied with the draw against the Old Lady. “I think we shouldn't make the mistake of getting angry about the result even though we were 2-0 up.” Coach Pep Guardiola even spoke of “one of the best matches in my coaching career.” It was an “incredibly good game” against “the best team in Italy. I'm happy with my players' performance.”

In the return at the Allianz Arena on 16 March, a 0-0 or 1-1 draw will be sufficient for FCB to go through. “After a 2-2 away draw we'll be favourites,” stressed Lahm: “We're in a very, very good position and we know how well we can play at home. That's why we're confident for the second leg.” Before the return journey on Wednesday Arjen Robben came up with a sound plan for the home match: “We'll have to play like we did in the first 60 minutes... only for 30 minutes longer.”

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