Bitter victory! FCB between frustration and pride
Xabi Alonso is a world champion, two-time European champion and two-time Champions League winner. But on Tuesday evening he was nothing but a man sitting on the Allianz Arena pitch, humble, his head lowered, his hands covering his face. A few metres away David Alaba was lying on the ground, his face buried in the turf. Thomas Müller was walking over the pitch, shaking his head again and again. The FCB stars fought back the tears in the changing room. "It really hurts," Müller said, speaking on behalf of everyone in the Bayern camp.
The Munich men took 33 shots on goal, on average one shot every three minutes. Rarely before had one side dominated a Champions League semi-final tie so clearly. But ultimately the 2-1 victory against Atlético was one of the most bitter victories in the club's history. Due to a 1-0 reverse in the first leg Bayern missed out a place in the final, coming up one goal short. "Football can be extremely mean at times," Müller commented.
'All credit to the team'
"The team played magnificently. They did everything right and would have deserved to make it to Milan. All credit to the team. But we've still ended up empty-handed," Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: "The players are desperately sad of course, there's a deathly silence in the changing room."
Earlier that evening the Allianz Arena had been a cauldron of noise and colour. "The atmosphere was incredible, the fans spurred us on. We pushed one another," Philipp Lahm reported. "We were on fire," Thomas Müller added, "we were disciplined, played a good passing game, we displayed intensity and passion, we had incredible fans and incredible subs." Lahm summed up the situation: "We absolutely dominated the semi-finals for 150 minutes, we locked our opponents down and created chances. We only failed to score the goals."
'Fantastic Champions League campaign'
Alonso's opener on the half-hour and Robert Lewandowski's 74th-minute goal were not enough because Antoine Griezmann made the most of his only chance in the match, scoring the decisive away goal early into the second half. Rummenigge refused to blame Müller, who could have doubled the lead four minutes after the opener, but missed from the spot. The forward himself was frustrated: "A penalty that doesn't go in isn't a good penalty." Atlético's Fernando Torres missed another penalty (which should not have been given) in the closing stages.
The tie ended 2-2 on aggregate and Bayern went out on away goals. Just like in the last two years, the German record champions were knocked out in the semi-finals. "It's hard to accept after a performance like that. But that's football. Sometimes the best team doesn't make it to the final," said Alonso, whereas his coach was "sad, but at the same time very proud. We did absolutely everything, we've had a fantastic Champions League campaign." Which was not sufficient to cheer up the Bayern stars on Tuesday evening. "We have to lick our wounds tonight and then go on against Ingolstadt on Saturday," said Rummenigge. Lahm concluded with a reminder: "We can still finish the season with the double."