Category Archives: Champions League

Bayern Munich – No Substitute For Champions League Success

Mark Lovell looks at Bayern Munich’s poor Champions League final record and the substitutions that arguably cost them two crowns.

After the fanfare and collective back-slapping surrounding Bayern’s acquisition of Pep Guardiola, it’s clear that expectations will be heightened when the 42-year-old begins a three-year contract in the summer. Victory in the Champions League is likely to be the minimum dividend expected from the club’s investment. Racking up Bundesliga titles alone will not cut it for the club – or, for that matter, the Catalan himself.

The Champions League remains the ‘Holy Grail’ for the Bavarian club. The Reds last won the title in 2001 after a penalty shoot-out success against Valencia.

In fact, Bayern have developed quite a habit of falling at the final hurdle. They have experienced the heartache of defeat in four of their last five finals in Europe’s most prestigious competition.

By Bogaerts, Rob (Nationaal Archief Fotocollectie Anefo) via Wikimedia Commons

In 1982, Bayern were strong favourites to beat English underdogs Aston Villa in Rotterdam, but succumbed to a solitary Peter Withe goal in the De Kuip stadium. Famous names from the Bayern ‘family’ suffered the agony of the 1982 defeat. The Reds were captained by Paul Breitner, with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Dieter Hoeness playing up front. Uli, Dieter’s elder brother, was by this time the club’s General Manager.

In 1987, a Bayern side inspired by Lothar Matthäus surrendered a deserved half-time lead, losing 2-1 to an unfancied FC Porto side in Vienna. The names Rummenigge and Hoeness were again on the team sheet – this time it was Karl-Heinz’s younger brother Michael – with Dieter Hoeness still in attack for Bayern.

Louis van Gaal’s Bayern came out second best in the 2010 final in Madrid, losing to Jose Mourinho’s treble-winning Inter Milan side. This was the first of two painful final defeats in three years for the record German champions. Argentinian Diego Milito decided affairs with a goal in each half against a Bayern side deprived of the talents of their talisman Franck Ribéry through suspension.

By Johnny Vulkan from New York, East Village, USA via Wikimedia Commons

Despite dominating the 2012 Champions League final at the Allianz Arena, Bayern failed to see off an average, but spirited, Chelsea side. The ‘Finale Dahoam’ (Home Final) turned into more of a Home Fiasco. Bayern squandered three match points in their own backyard against Chelsea: throwing away a lead in the final minutes; Arjen Robben’s tame extra-time back pass – sorry missed penalty; and then the ultimate heartache of the penalty shoot-out, when Kroos, Timoschtschuk and Robben felt unable to take penalties as their nerves failed them.

Recalling the lead-up to Didier Drogba’s shock equaliser, I would argue that there was no pressing need to take off Thomas Müller just a couple of minutes after his bouncing header past Petr Cech. The 23-year-old Bavarian certainly seemed fit enough to jump around wildly in celebration before being mobbed by jubilant team-mates after his 83rd minute goal finally broke the deadlock.

During the miserable post mortem sound bites, Müller’s hauling off was attributed to a long-standing calf injury. However, Müller had gone into the game with this injury and been playing through the pain barrier for weeks. He had complained of the injury long before the goal and Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes hadn’t taken him off. So why react now?

In reality, hadn’t Heynckes sacrificed his goalscorer to afford him a standing ovation in recognition of his ‘winning’ goal in front of a home crowd? Chelsea carried little threat. The game was done and dusted. However, the substitution brutally backfired as Daniel van Buyten entered the fray on 85 minutes. Defensive reorganisation was required, but this failed to transpire when the English side were awarded their only corner of the match. Drogba was allowed the freedom of Munich to thunder a bullet header past the helpless Manuel Neuer. Fellow defender Jerome Boateng was the scapegoat in many peoples’ eyes for not getting tight enough to Drogba but surely the idea of bringing on van Buyten was to ‘double team’ the African striker for the remaining minutes?

How fickle the footballing fates are. The history books would not show Robben’s weak extra-time penalty miss – and the Dutchman would not have been booed a few days later in the Allianz Arena when he played for the Netherlands in a Euro warm-up game. A more defensive Bayern unit with van Buyten on board lost on penalties to a Chelsea side that seized their only real chance of the match, emphatically punishing Bayern for a momentary lapse in discipline. “It’s madness, really cruel,” said (now) President Uli Hoeness after the game, whilst the (former) Director of Football, Christian Nerlinger, called it “a total nightmare, like a really bad film.” “1999 was incredibly brutal, but tonight is even sadder, even more brutal and more unnecessary,” said a disconsolate Chairman of the Board Karl-Heinz Rummenigge at the post-match function.

The late Freddie Mercury crooned “Barcelona! How can I forget?” with Opera diva Montserrat Caballé before the 1999 final in the Catalan capital. Well, the 1999 final defeat to Manchester United at Camp Nou will forever be etched into the Bayern memory. This was another perfect example of Bayern plucking defeat from the jaws of an assured victory – after a substitution backfired.

Bayern were deservedly ahead after Mario Basler’s cheeky 6th minute free kick, which sneaked through a ragged Manchester United wall, beating the Big Dane Peter Schmeichel all ends up. Bayern should have been out of sight; both Carsten Jancker and Mehmet Scholl had chances to seal the deal but could only hit the woodwork.

The game in Barcelona arguably turned after the substitution of Bayern legend Lothar Matthäus with just ten minutes remaining. Germany’s 1990 World Cup winning captain was 38 years old at the time and entering the twilight of his career. However, as ‘Libero’ (sweeper) on that balmy night in Barcelona, he had mopped up everything a limited United side could throw at Bayern.

Without their experienced ‘Libero’, Bayern let in two goals in added time to let the trophy slip from their grasp. Thorsten Fink, who replaced Matthäus, hurriedly miskicked the ball from a corner – instead of launching a clearance into Row Z. His timid hack fell to straight to Ryan Giggs, whose mishit found Teddy Sheringham, who equalised from close range.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for a visibly reeling Bayern side, they conceded another sloppy goal from a corner. The Norwegian ‘baby-faced assassin’, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, fired into the roof of the net from a Sheringham flick-on.

Cue bedlam in Barcelona. Commentator Clive Tyldsley asked UK TV viewers how Matthäus must be feeling as the cameras panned to the German with his head in his hands after the two hammer blows. “Who cares?” was his belligerent summing up.

In the aftermath of post-match analyses of their inexplicable 102 second collapse, Scholl was fined around DM 10,000 for suggesting that Lothar had a habit of removing himself from duty when things got a bit tight. Bayern’s outspoken midfielder Steffen Effenberg labelled Matthäus a ‘deserter’. In his recent autobiography, ‘Effe’ stated he still can’t work out why Germany’s most capped player (150) was substituted with his side in front. “It would have taken a broken leg for me to leave the field,” said the fiery former captain.

Lothar added fuel to the flames by suggesting that he could have played on if coach (Ottmar Hitzfeld) had insisted, a statement which he was later forced to retract.

Uli Hoeness famously said that Lothar wouldn’t even get a job as a greenkeeper at the club. Although time is a great healer and certain differences have been patched up, it is no coincidence that Lothar has never been asked back to the club in any capacity to join fellow former greats in the Bayern ‘family’.

In 2001, Bayern were definitely spurred onto greater efforts in the Champions League after the misery of Barcelona 1999. Fans will be hoping that Jupp Heynckes’s charges can use the disappointment of the ‘Home Final’ to go one better this time around, before the 67-year-old hands over to the man welcomed by all and sundry as the new Messiah, Pep Guardiola.

 

Let’s all meet up in the year 2000

Mark Lovell (twitter @LovellLowdown) recalls a Champions League clash between German and English sides – both with an extremely passionate and loyal following.

Both TSV 1860 Munich and Leeds United currently languish in the second tier of their respective country’s leagues after suffering the humiliation of financial implosion.

Back in August 2000, the ‘Lions’ of Munich and the ‘Peacocks’ from Leeds met in a two- legged qualifier, with the winners guaranteed a sum in the region of £25m for simply reaching the group stages – so long ago that the Deutschmark (and not the Euro) was still in circulation.

1860 Munich were crowned Bundesliga champions in 1966 before their ‘noisy neighbours’ Bayern Munich had a lot to shout about. However, 1860 had never beaten English opposition, most famously losing to West Ham in the 1965 Cup Winners Cup final at Wembley. As recently as 1991, the Lions were plying their trade in the regional Bavarian leagues, after being denied a licence to play top-flight football, before rising up the league pyramid to the brink of Champions League qualification under brusque coach Werner Lorant.

Under the tutelage of Don Revie, Leeds United were the dominant side of the late 60s and early 70s in England. Between 1965 and 1974, Revie’s side never finished outside of the top four, winning two League Championships (1968-69; 1973-74), the FA Cup (1972), the League Cup (1968) and two Inter-Cities Fairs Cups (1968 and 1971).

A host of famous names from Leeds’ illustrious past made the trip to the Bavarian capital, gracing the media entourage. Johnny Giles, Joe Jordan and Peter Lorimer, as well as assistant Eddie Gray, were a reminder of the club’s glory days.

Leeds did have bitter memories of a previous clash with a Munich side after losing to Bayern in the 1975 European Cup final. On that night in Paris, Leeds considered themselves very hard done by. Bayern won 2-0, but not before the French referee had disallowed Lorimer’s seemingly valid goal and denied Leeds two clear-cut penalties. These decisions and the dismal defeat had sparked riots in the crowd, resulting in a European ban and a slump in the English club’s fortunes.

The Leeds side of 2000 was about to embark on some massive spending under Chairman Peter Risdale’s regime. The Yorkshire giants had every intention of “living the dream”, to ensure footballing success.

The English side travelled to Munich holding a slender 2-1 advantage from the first leg at Elland Road. Ex-Bristol City striker Paul Agostino grabbed a lifeline for the Lions with a precious late goal in Yorkshire, after the home side had been reduced to nine men with both Olivier Dacourt and Erik Bakke seeing red.

Leeds manager David O’Leary felt that the luck of the Irish had deserted him.

“I thought all the sendings off were wrong,” he said. “I thought they were a joke, unbelievable.”

As a result Leeds were reduced to a skeleton squad, with O’Leary bemoaning his fate ahead of the big-money game in Munich’s Olympic Stadium.

“I don’t mean this as a joke, but I don’t know what side I can field for that game,” O’Leary complained.

“I’m not very confident about going through. I’m not being defeatist, I’m just being realistic, it’s no way to be going into the biggest game this club has had without nine players.”

As the hotly anticipated second-leg clash loomed, the Lions’ (now deceased) President Karl-Heinz Wildmoser viewed it as his club’s “most important game in three decades”.

Yours truly was amongst the 56,000 crowd that turned up on a balmy summer night in the historic stadium, built for the 1972 Munich Olympics. Around 2500 travelling supporters were in fine voice after the customary pre-match lubrication with the local Munich product.

I can vividly recall the fiery Lorant prowling his technical area – a thick mop of grey hair, gesticulating wildly through a haze of cigarette smoke, trying to motivate his charges.

The standout 1860 player was undoubtedly the diminutive German midfielder Thomas ‘Icke’ Hässler, a 1990 World Cup and Euro 96 winner.

Hässler, 34 at the time, was coming to the end of an illustrious career but still ran the show in the middle of the park as the Lions pressed for a vital goal.

Current 1860 player Daniel Bierofka was a mere 21-year-old youngster making his way in the game on this heady night in Munich, whilst two-time Bundesliga top scorer Martin Max provided the goal threat in a lively Lions side.

Hässler almost broke the deadlock in the final seconds of the first half with a rasping free-kick from the edge of the box. Nigel Martyn was beaten all ends up in the Leeds goal, but the ball smacked against the woodwork to safety.

The game was decided immediately after the interval. Martyn punted long, aiming for the imposing figure of Leeds striker Mark Viduka, signed that summer from Celtic. The Aussie Viduka caused havoc in the box against 1860 Captain Marco Kurz, who later went on to manage the club. The loose ball fell nicely to Alan Smith, a Leeds-born striker, who was just 19 at the time. Smith dispatched with aplomb to seal a 3-1 aggregate win over the Lions, who had to make do with UEFA Cup football.

Man of the match was undoubtedly English international goalkeeper Martyn. The Cornishman made a string of fine saves to deny the hosts and keep the makeshift Leeds side ahead.

Ironically, the Lions’ “noisy neighbours” Bayern Munich later lifted the trophy, beating Valencia 5–4 on penalties after a 1–1 draw after extra time. The Spanish side had overcome a full-strength Leeds side in the semi-finals.

This was as good as it got for Leeds as living the dream proved unsustainable. Leeds slipped into administration in 2007, dropping all the way to the third tier of English football, whilst 1860 have managed only mid-table mediocrity in the German second
division since 2004.

Competition: Champions League, 3rd Qualifying Round, Second Leg

Score: TSV 1860 Munich 0 Leeds United 1 (Alan Smith)

1860 Munich: Hoffmann, Passlack (Winkler 63′), Puerk, Max, Hässler, Cerny, Mykland,
Stranzl, Borimirov (Beierle 78′), Agostino, Bierofka (Tyce 73′)

Unused subs: Greilich, Riedl, Pfudere, Jentsch (gk)

Leeds United: Martyn, Kelly, Harte, Radebe, Woodgate, Viduka, Bowyer, Smith, Mills,
Jones (G. Evans 73′), Duberry

Unused subs: Bridges, Huckerby, McMaster, Molenaar, Hackworth, Robinson (gk)

Venue: Olympic Stadium, Munich, Germany

The Bundesliga Show Episode 79 – Bayern & The Best Of The Rest

This week on The Bundesliga Show, Terry Duffelen steps in for Matt Hermann and chats with Jon Hartley about Bayern’s charge for the title. And if the Bavarian’s are destined to win back what they see if rightfully theirs, then who are the best of the rest.

All that, some Champions League chat and a look at the 2.Bundesliga.

Enjoy the show!

Champions League Preview: Post Eden Hazards

Bayern Munich travel to Lille for the Champions League on Tuesday. French Football expert and Lille fan, Andrew Gibney, tells you all you need to know.

Some managers hate the international break, well by some, we mean all. Hoping your players return from duty free of any injuries and ready to get back into the long season ahead. One manager perhaps glad to see the break was Lille coach Rudi Garcia. When you started using the word “cursed” in press conferences you get the feeling everything is not OK in the good ship Les Dogues.

From watching every game this season the strange thing was, maybe Garcia wasn’t completely crazy…not yet. Starting the season with a 2-1 win away at Saint-Etienne was fantastic, a 90th minute winner from midfielder Benoit Pedretti had the club on cloud nine. Then came the slide. Disregarding the win over FC Copenhagen in the Champions League qualifier which came in Extra-Time it took until the sixth try for Lille to win at their new stadium. Not the homecoming President Michel Seydoux was hoping for.

In fact after the opening night draw against Nancy there was a sense of heightened pressure on the team to perform at the wonderful 50,000 seater Grand Stade Lille Metropole. No longer was this a team over-achieving in Ligue 1, this team was expected to perform, to challenge the millionaires in Paris, to become one of France’s leading lights.

Theoretically that’s all well and good, and not many Lille fans including myself will tell you these thoughts hadn’t crossed your mind this summer. Pretty sure the words “being the second best team in France would be great” left my mouth now on more than one occasion this summer. There was just one problem, two words that when mentioned will always bring a chorus of sighs to any group of Lille fans, Eden Hazard.

How many teams outside the biggest clubs can sell a player for €40 million and carry on like nothing has happened? Bayern fans should maybe give a knowing look towards Athletic Bilbao at this point. The wonderful, mercurial and supremely telented Eden Hazard was gone. Twenty goals and sixteen assists gone, it takes some astute signings to replace that sort of productivity. After 45 minutes of the opening home game against Nancy they showed Eden down in the changing room chilling out with his former team-mates, would the referee’s notice if new signing Marvin Martin took his #10 shirt off and Hazard took the field? A void that large isn’t replaced overnight, possibly not even this season. That sigh just got a little louder.

Something Lille has always done well is replacing the outgoing players well, really well actually. This summer along with Sochaux’s Martin, Lille signed Salomon Kalou on a free, Djibril Sidibé from Troyes and Ryan Mendes from Le Havre. Only Kalou was really a household name, but every one of them a good player and a few excellent prospects for the future.

Back to the curse, well it could be dialled back to just a case of bad luck. It’s hard to bounce back after going a goal down to PSG after 37 seconds, in three previous games the Parisians had never looked so good. Losing a 90th minute equaliser away at lowly Troyes, another equaliser lost at the end of the home game against Lyon, in what was their second shot on target after being dominated by a spirited LOSC side.

The straw that broke the camel’s back came against Rennes. A team in turmoil, questions over their manager and the attitude of their players, this was meant to be the point that Lille turned their season around. After watching captain Rio Mavuba leave the pitch on a stretcher it wasn’t a surprise to see Mevlut Erding and Romain Alessandrini put Rennes 2-0 up before Aurelien Chedjou’s header bounced off the underside of the crossbar and then the goal-line before being cleared to safety. It just wasn’t meant to be.

Against Valencia days later in the Champions League the bad luck continued. A deflected pass and a shot come cross lead to Brazilian Jonas scoring a double. Yes it wasn’t the best performance from Rudi Garcia’s side but the two nil win flattered the Spaniards just a little. Unfortunately this has been the tale of Lille’s season so far, the problem with football is that you make your own luck. In the colder light of day the lack of a clinical edge could be to blame for some of the last points this season.

When you look at the players that have left since Lille won the title back in 2011 it’s clear to see the transformation this side has been forced to go through in such a short space of time. Adil Rami, Yohan Cabaye, Gervinho, Moussa Sow and Eden Hazard were all key members of the Championship side. Marko Basa, Benoit Pedretti, Dimitri Payet, Nolan Roux and Marvin Martin are all great players in their own right but collectively it still seems the Les Dogues are missing that special something.

The midfield trio of Mavuba, Balmont and Cabaye was easily the best in France that season and a massive reason why they lifted their first title since 1954. With Cabaye gone to Newcastle Garcia has looked for a new third member of the triangle. Pedretti has failed to deliver in the 18 months he’s been at Lille and now €10m signing Martin has already had his problems with form and injury this season. Add to this Balmont’s lack of form and the spine of that successful Lille side is looking a little frail.

Facing the dynamic duo of Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller is going to be a real problem for Lille this week. The French side’s strength this season has come from the full-back positions with the excellent Mathieu Debuchy and 19-year old left-back Lucas Digne bombing forward and providing width and support from deep. Facing some of Europe’s elite attackers will likely keep the full-backs at bay and leave the Lille front-line looking a little isolated.

Unable to make an impression against the defences of BATE Borisiov and Valencia in the first two match-days doesn’t bode well for the visit of the German giants. Three points may be out of reach for this current Lille side but the home fans would be happy to see a spirited performance, a performance that gives hope for the rest of the season.

Bonne Chance Les Dogues

Andrew Gibney is the editor and founder of French Football Weekly and previous guest of the Bundesliga Show. Follow Andrew on Twitter.

The Bundesliga Show Episode 74 – Pubs and Podcasting

This week on the Bundesliga Show, Matt Hermann and Terry Duffelen dissect the Bundesliga and Champions League action at the Zeitgeist pub in London.

Prepare for chat about Bayern, Bremen and everything in-between. Also, what is the future for Kevin Grosskreutz?

You can also listen to The Bundesliga Show on the Stitcher iPhone and Android app

The Bundesliga Show Episode 72 – Armin Veh and Ooh La la

After a goal packed match day three of the new Bundesliga season, Matt Hermann and Jon Hartley are back to talk about the most important subjects of the weekend. They are also joined by France based man of all things Bundesliga, Ian Holyman. Ian also gives the low down on the french opponents of Bundesliga sides in Europe this season.

And as always, Terry Duffelen is on hand to with a report of what is going on in the 2. Bundesliga.

Enjoy the show!

The Bundesliga Show Episode 68 – Cup Shocks & Matchday 1 Preview

Welcome back to a new season with The Bundesliga Show. At the start of the new season the show Matt Hermann joins Jon Hartley as the new co-host of the pod. In the first episode of the campaign, the pair tackle the Cup shocks from the DFB Pokal, talk Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Champions League  play-off and look forward to the kick-off of the 50th Bundesliga season.

Enjoy the show!

Download the Bundesliga Lounge Season Preview magazine here.

The Bundesliga Show Episode 67 – The Madness of Munich

This week on the Bundesliga Show, Terry Duffelen and Jon Hartley, breakdown the Champions League Final disappointment for Bayern Munich.

What went wrong, and what is the potential for the record champions next season?

 

 

The Bundesliga Show Episode 66 – Double Bubble for Dortmund, Bayern’s Big Build-up & Flare Up at Fortuna

This week on The Bundesliga Show, Jon Hartley and Terry Duffelen, talk about the historic DFB Pokal win for Borussia Dortmund. They are also joined by esteemed author and journalist, Uli Hesse, to discuss Bayern Munich’s prospects for the Champions League Final.

Also in the podacast, Holger Ruhl from Eintracht Frankfurt, chats about the clubs promotion. Joining them in the 1.Bundesliga will (possibly!) be Fortuna Düsseldorf. Jon and Terry talk about their fiery encounter with Hertha Berlin.

The Bundesliga Show 62 – Dortmund on the brink and advantage, Bayern

On this week’s Bundesliga Show, Jon Hartley and Terry Duffelen discuss the last weekend’s action in the first and second division of the Bundesliga. We anticipate a Borussia  Dortmund title win after their victory over Schalke and welcome Greuther Fürth into the German top flight after they sealed promotion at the weekend.

We also discuss Bayern Munich’s 2-1 win against Real Madrid in the Champions League.