Created on 2017-03-08 at 10:55 AM by Redaktion
The FC Bayern players and coaching staff were greeted with loud applause as they entered Grand Ballroom 2 in London's prestigious Landmark Hotel late on Tuesday night. That was less than two hours after the German record champions inflicted a crushing 5-1 defeat on Arsenal to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals with an aggregate 10-2 win. That drew even more enthusiastic applause from the travelling fans, partners and sponsors present.
"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank our coach Carlo Ancelotti and the team," said chairman of the board Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in opening his speech at the banquet. He talked about two "clear results" for FCB against the English top club with the first leg in Munich also producing a 5-1 win. FC Bayern are in the last eight of the Champions League for the sixth time in succession and a record sixteenth time overall – more than any other European team.
However, in spite of the well deserved qualification for the quarter-finals, there is no sense of euphoria in the camp of the 2001 and 2013 winners. "It will do us good not to be seen as the favourites in the Champions League. We're in the quarter-finals now but every other team that has, or will, qualify will provide tough opposition," declared Rummenigge before calling for everybody to "keep really calm. We shouldn't start dreaming but instead wait patiently to see who we draw in the quarter-finals."
The clash with the Gunners was not straightforward at all. “It was tougher than the 10-2 aggreagte win suggests. We had problems with this opponent in the first half both in Munich and here today. That should teach us to be fully focussed with a touch of humility in the next few games. You can’t afford to have bad games or even halves in the Champions League,” said.
Penalty relieves pressure
“The result doesn’t reflect what happened on the pitch,” said Ancelotti as he talked about a “diificult game” where Arsenal took a deresrved first-half lead through Theo Walcott. “We should have controlled the game better. We weren’t free flowing and didn’t control the ball as well as usual,” vouched Ancelotti. “We were careless,” said a self-critical Mats Hummels in commenting on a sluggish display early on. “The first 50 minutes definitely weren’t any good.”
Only after the dismissal of Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny, shortly after the restart, and Robert Lewandowski’s leveller from the peanalty spot, “was the pressure off us and then we went to score more goals with the extra man,” said Ancelotti. Arjen Robben, substitute Douglas Costa and a brace from Arturo Vidal wrapped up a first away win in the knock-out rounds of the Champions League since February 2014 - also against Arsenal.
Advance step by step
“The penalty turned the game round in our favour,” declared Rummenigge who was ” a bit nervous” in the first half. “It can be tight if you conceded a second goal.” Hummels wanted to “take a realistic view” of the match at the Emirates Stadium and learn the lessons for forthcoming games. The next opponents for FCB will be decided at the draw in Nyon on 17 March.
The fact is FC Bayern want more. “Let’s take it step by step without getting carried away. We’re only in the quarter-finals. And they will be full of strong teams. It will be really tough,” said Robben before adding: “It doesn’t have to end in the quarter-finals. We know exactly what we want.”