The Bavarians have knocked out a host of big teams on their way to the final at the Bernabeu. Juventus, Fiorentina, Manchester United and Lyon have all fallen at their hands, but arguably they have only played well in two matches in the whole tournament.
Firstly in what has been their best performance in the competition they knocked out Juventus by beating them 4-1 on their own ground in their final group game. Bayern went into the game needing a win to qualify from their group and went behind to an early David Trezeguet goal. But credit, where credit is due, Bayern managed to go in at half time at 1-1. In the second half Bayern turned on the style and put three more goals past them and Bayern qualified from their group in 2nd place at the expense of Juventus.
Bayern struggled to replicate their form in the second round against Fiorentina. In the first leg at the Allianz Arena, Fiorentina started the game well enjoying a good share of possession. However Bayern were awarded a penalty right at the end of the half by referee and Chelsea villain, Tom Henning Ovrebro which Arjen Robben dispatched. Fiorentina were able to equalise at the start of the second half through Per Kroldrup, but then Bayern Munich had three incorrect decisions by the officials go in their favour. Firstly Fiorentina’s Massimo Gobbi was shown a straight red card for merely obstructing Robben, then minutes later Ovrebro showed only a yellow card to striker Miroslav Klose for a dangerous two-footed challenge on Felipe right in front of the linesman. Finally in the 89th minute a goal from Klose was allowed to stand despite the striker being at least two yards offside when he headed the ball into the back of the net.
In the second leg Fiorentina took the lead through Juan Manuel Vargas and dominated the game from start to finish with the young Serbian, Stevan Jovetic scoring two goals for the Viola. However two strikes from distance from Van Bommel and Robben gave Bayern precious away goals from which they triumphed after the game finished 4-4 on aggregate.
A quarter-final tie against Man Utd followed and after Wayne Rooney gave United a 1-0 lead after just two minutes in Germany they controlled the game up until half time. The second half was more of an even contest and Bayern were able to equalise on 77 minutes through a lucky deflection on a tame Ribery free-kick. Then with the last kick of the game Bayern somehow managed to steal an undeserved win with Ivica Olic getting on the scoresheet.
In the return leg at Old Trafford, United coasted to 3-0 lead after 41 minutes with goals from Darron Gibson and a brace by Nani. With Man U fully in control the Germans somehow found a goal out of nothing through Olic at the end of the half.
Shortly after the restart Rafael was shown a second yellow card for pulling back Ribery and whilst this decision wasn’t contentious, his first booking was as a result of tripping Van Bommel after the Dutch midfielder clearly fouled him first. With United down to 10 men the game visibly changed and Bayern were able to string passes together which they were completely unable to in the first half.
However they still weren’t able to make any great chances and it only took a moment of brilliance from Robben to grab Bayern another precious away goal and they again managed to win on the away goals rule after drawing 4-4 on aggregate.
Recently Bayern overcame Lyon in the semi-finals, in the first leg Bayern won a scrappy game by the score of 1-0 which neither side particularly dominated. In the second leg in France, Bayern did play well winning 3-0 with Olic scoring a hat-trick but Bayern still got some luck as Lyon skipper Cris was harshly shown two yellow cards, firstly for winning the ball in a challenge and then a second for applauding the ref. Lyon bottled the game and didn’t play anywhere near as well as they have shown previously in the competition this year, particularly when they played Real Madrid.
When Bayern Munich play Inter Milan in the Champions League final on the 22nd May, Inter should be clear favourites for the game as they have a vastly superior squad to Bayern, with the German club only really having Robben, Ribery, Lahm and Schweinsteiger as possible world class players. However don’t be surprised if the “typical Germans” as Sir Alex likes to call them, get another slice of luck.