Thu, Apr 16, 2009 - Page 18 News List

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Bayern hold Barcelona to restore pride

REDEMPTION Bayern Munich president Franz Beckenbauer said the draw at the Allianz Arena had gone some way to making up for a 4-0 drubbing in Barcelona

AFP , MUNICH, GERMANY

Bayern Munich’s Luca Toni reacts during their Champions League quarter-final second leg match on Tuesday against Barcelona in Munich, Germany.

PHOTO: AP

French playmaker Franck Ribery ensured Bayern Munich exited the Champions League with at least some dignity as the German giants held Barcelona 1-1 in Tuesday’s quarter-final second-leg.

Having come to Munich with a virtually unassailable 4-0 advantage from the first-leg at the Camp Nou, Barcelona go through 5-1 on aggregate to book their semi-final show-down against Chelsea.

“We are pleased to be in the semi-finals, we still have a lot of games to get through before we can think of Chelsea,” said Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola.

“They are a good side, but we need to go and look at the Bayern game first and look at how we played, there are areas to improve,” he said.

No side in the competition’s history had ever over-turned a four goal deficit and Bayern were always going to need a miracle to reach the last four.

Bayern coach Jurgen Klinsmann was booed by his own fans before kick-off, but this result, on the back of the weekend’s 4-0 win over Frankfurt in the German league, will have taken some of the pressure off the ex-Germany coach.

“We wanted an early goal, then anything could have been possible, but we have lacked the little bit of luck,” Klinsmann said. “The team gave a good account of themselves against one of the teams who are favorite to take the Champions League title.”

And the Bayern players could at least hold their heads high having matched the Catalans.

“We were much better in the personal duels, things were a bit more normal, and we played the way you need to against such a good team,” said Germany defender Philipp Lahm. “But unfortunately we have still lost the tie.”

Bayern Munich president Franz Beckenbauer — who was scathing after the first-leg debacle — said the Germans had gone some way to redemption.

“I think the team has rehabilitated itself, although Barcelona’s equalizing goal was needlessly conceded,” Beckenbauer said.

After going close in the first-half, Ribery finally unpicked the Barcelona defense on 47 minutes before Seydou Keita equalized for the Spanish with less than 20 minutes left.

No Spanish side has ever won the treble of league, Kings Cup and Champions League, but Barcelona are on course to take all three.

A fever removed one of Bayern’s chief tormentors from the second leg here as striker Thierry Henry succumbed to a high temperature, but Guardiola retained a three-prong attack with Andres Iniesta pushed further upfield.

Germany strikers Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose were both ruled out with calf and ankle injuries respectively leaving Italian World Cup winner Luca Toni as the lone forward with Ribery playing just behind him.

Gloria Gaynor’s hit I Will Survive echoed around Munich’s Allianz Arena before kick-off, but Bayern went one better than survival as they matched a Barcelona side who looked to believe the tie was already won.

Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto’o had both scored early goals in the first-leg to leave Bayern 2-0 down after 12 minutes, but it was the Germans who started brighter in Munich.

Both Ribery and Toni went close in the first-half, but both blasted their shots over the bar as it stayed 0-0 at the interval.

Immediately after the break a great pass from Ze Roberto split the Barca’s defense and Ribery skipped inside the penalty area before rifling his shot past goalkeeper Victor Valdes on 47 minutes.

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