Created on 29-07-2009 at 00:00 AM
In Wednesday's Audi Cup second semi-final, a lively Bayern side chalked up a 4-1 victory over AC Milan to book a place in Thursday's final against Manchester United, who earlier defeated Boca Juniors 2-1. The tournament, featuring four previous Intercontinental Cup winners, marks the centenary of Bayern premium automotive partner Audi.
The 61,000 crowd at the Allianz Arena noisily celebrated both their heroes' progress to the final, and a sparkling home debut for new boss Louis van Gaal, whose men appear to be running nicely into form ahead of Sunday's first competitive match of the new campaign, a DFB Cup first round tie away to Neckarelz. Thomas Müller struck a brace, the other FCB goals coming from Bastian Schweinsteiger and reserve hopeful Sene Saer, with Andrea Pirlo on target for Milan.
Van Gaal, still without injury victims Franck Ribéry, Luca Toni and Ivica Olic, picked a starting line-up very close to the side which travelled to Köln and won last Friday. Young Holger Badstuber partnered Daniel van Buyten at centre-half, Mark van Bommel took the holding role, and Hamit Altintop lined up on the right of midfield. With Miroslav Klose sidelined (flu), Müller partnered Mario Gomez up front, José Sosa tucking in behind the front two.
The Italians began with Ronaldinho and Pato in attack and Pirlo in the playmaking role. Former FCB man Massimo Oddo, Gennaro Gattuso and Filippo Inzaghi started on the bench, from where they saw the home side launch a furious assault in the lively opening phase.
Pace, pressure and pressing
Bayern passed at pace, applied pressure going forward, and pressed the Rossoneri into errors on the ball. Gomez, Altintop and Sosa all let off sighters, before Altintop and Sosa combined sweetly for Müller to net from close range and open the scoring on 12 minutes.