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Aberdeen 2 Bayern 2

Pulsating UEFA Cup clash ends in stalemate

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The Bundesliga leaders dominated at Pittodrie but the Scottish Premier League outfit earned a share of the spoils in a stirring UEFA Cup Round of 32 first leg clash.

A 20,047 full house packed into the compact ground on the north-east Scottish coast saw the visitors loose off 16 shots to the injury-hit Dons’ three in the first period, but the energetic home side went in 2-1 to the good courtesy of strikes from 18-year-old Englishmen Josh Walker and Sone Aluko either side of Miroslav Klose’s fourth UEFA Cup goal of the campaign.

The Bavarians cut out the sloppy defending and mounted a more controlled offensive after the break, Hamit Altintop netting at the second attempt after home keeper Jamie Langfield initially saved the Turk’s 54th minute penalty, but the Scots resisted stoutly and hung on to deny Munich a winner despite the visitors’ overwhelming territorial dominance.

Bayern will nevertheless be considered favourites for a berth in the last sixteen as a goalless stalemate or a 1-1 draw will now be enough for the German giants when the sides meet again at the Allianz Arena in Munich next Thursday.

Marcell makes comeback

Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld made four changes to the team held 1-1 by Werder Bremen at the weekend. Three were enforced with Michael Rensing, Christian Lell and Andreas Ottl deputising for Oliver Kahn (illness), Willy Sagnol (fitness) and Mark van Bommel (calf), but Marcell Jansen’s first start after a three-month injury lay-off in place of Phillip Lahm came as something of a surprise.

Roared on by the boisterous home faithful, the side sent out by Dons boss Jimmy Calderwood made light of the loss of six regulars to injury and more than held their own in a furious opening spell, but after Lell warmed Langfield’s gloves from 30 yards and Altintop whistled a drive just over the bar, the visitors seized the initiative and began probing for gaps in the packed home defence.

Sides swap goals

But the stadium erupted on 24 minutes as Aberdeen’s two youthful Englishmen combined to hand the Scots a barely deserved lead. Aluko controlled on the edge of the box after a series of swift passes left the Bayern defence chasing shadows, Walker curling a fine effort past Rensing into the bottom left-hand corner from 20 yards.

Stung by the shock opener, the visitors pressed in search of an instant response. Klose spooned Altintop’s angled cut-back over the bar when it looked easier to score, but the Germany striker swiftly made amends for the miss with smart anticipation and a clean finish on 29 minutes, latching onto Toni’s knockdown from Lucio’s long punt to level the scores.

Dons back in front

Langfield saved bravely from Klose and Ze Roberto rifled a shot into the side-netting as Munich upped the tempo, but the 1,500 travelling Bayern fans were again stunned into silence four minutes from the break when Lee Miller’s flicked pass rent the defence asunder and Aluko beat Lell before coolly slotting home from 10 yards.

Aluko shaved the post from the next attack, but Klose headed goalwards and Ottl fired over as Bayern served notice of intent to recoup the deficit as soon as possible. Hitzfeld opted for a change at half-time too, sending on the more attacking Lahm for Lell at right-back.

Hamit earns draw

With the Dons penned back in their own half after the restart, the breakthrough for the Germans finally arrived after 54 minutes when Spanish match official Senor Iturralde Gonzalez pointed to the spot after Alan Maybury threw out a hand to Ze Roberto’s cross. Altintop stepped up to take the award, but the Turkey star’s shot was weak and Langfield made the save. The Bayern man kept his head and gleefully buried the rebound to tie up the scores.

Ottl hit the post with a header, albeit from an offside position, Altintop drove across the face of goal and sub Lukas Podolski drew an excellent save from Langfield as the visitors went in search of the winner, but the Dons defended resolutely and the only remaining clear-cut chance fell to the subdued Toni in the last minute of normal time when the home keeper made a first fumble of an otherwise impressive performance.

Advantage Bayern

Bayern will be disappointed at creating a wealth of chances but converting only two, although there was no denying the Scots' courage and resolve, and the scoring draw in any case hands the men from Munich a tangible advantage for the second leg in a week's time.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley