'Everything's still possible'

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The mood at the Allianz Arena in Munich changed again just before midnight. When the FC Bayern players set off home in the early hours after the bitter home defeat in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final against holders Real Madrid the initial disappointment gave way to defiance and determination to turn it round in the second leg at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu on Tuesday and progress to the semi-finals.

"It's obviously a setback. We hoped to be in a different position for the second leg," said goalkeeper Manuel Neuer after the 2-1 defeat against the Spanish record champions but the shot-stopper was confident ahead of the return match; "We believe we can do it and it's still in our hands." Arjen Robben said: "We'll have to play the game and see what happens."„

Bayern dominate first half

A sell-out crowd of 70,000 at the Allianz Arena saw a game of two halves. FCB, without the injured Mats Hummels and Robert Lewandowski, dominated the first half and took the lead thanks to a powerful header from Arturo Vidal on 25 minutes. Just before the break, Vidal squandered the chance to double the lead with a missed penalty.

The visitors from Spain looked more convincing after the restart with Cristiano Ronaldo quickly levelling on 47 minutes. With the dismissal of the impressive Javi Martinez on 61 minutes it proved to be "difficult with a man down against a strong team," as FCB captain Philipp Lahm admitted. With his second goal on 77 minutes, Ronaldo sealed the first home defeat for the Reds in the Champions League after a run of 16 wins in succession on the European stage.

Full speed ahead

"Little things decided the game today. We missed the penalty and conceded the goal at the start of the second half. The sending off then changed the match completely," said coach Carlo Ancelotti after the game in commenting on one of the key moments of the match. His captain took a similar view: "The turning point in the game was the equaliser shortly after the break and the sending off proved decisive," explained Lahm.

At the end, FC Bayern were able to "talk about being lucky we didn't concede more goals," as Neuer declared. The world's best goalkeeper prevented a heavier defeat with several brilliant saves. "Manu kept us in the game to give us every chance in the return match," ventured Lahm. Thomas Müller said: "Half an hour with ten men against Madrid isn't a walk in the park. So we’re happy it ended 2-1."


"We could have got more out of it," declared Robben after the defeat. In contrast to the clear 4-1 victory at the weekend against Borussia Dortmund, "the final conviction was missing," as Robben added. That will be needed in Tuesday’s second leg encounter. "We can win in Madrid but we'll have to do much more than we did today," demanded Lahm. And Müller said: "It's full steam ahead on Tuesday and then anything's possible. We're going to do all we can to turn it round."


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