FC Bayern: Bayern Munich achieve ever more records in Europe

FC Bayern Munich broke new records when they made the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League. With the 3-0 (2-0) victory over FC Basle in the sixth match of Group E, the reigning German champions rounded off an excellent first round. The Bavarians are struggling in the Bundesliga, but at international level they managed to reach the knock-out stage, which will start in February, in superior style. Five wins in six matches brought a new club record for the Munich club. And they had never achieved 16 goals in the group matches. Their old record stood at 14 goals from the 2001-02 season.

The success against the Swiss champions was a strong finale for the year in Europe by Germany’s most successful football club, with the highlight being the Champions League final in May. The Bavarians continued their success in the first round of the 2010-11 season. They had achieved top spot in their group before the last match against Basle and qualified for the round of 16, which will be drawn on December 17. The first legs will take place between February 15 and 23, the second legs between March 8 and 16.

For the second time in the Champions League Thomas Kraft replaced regular keeper Joerg Butt in the Munich goal. The 22-year-old has yet to play in the Bundesliga. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)

As group winners FC Bayern will first play away so they will have home advantage in the decisive match. Bayern’s possible opponents are Inter Milan, Olympique Lyon, FC Valencia, FC Copenhagen, Olympique Marseille, AC Milan and Arsenal FC. These teams finished second in their groups.

The team of AS Rome, who came second behind the Bavarians in Group E, will not be their opponents in the knock-out stage. And according to the rules, national rivals are excluded in this round. National runners-up FC Schalke 04, who like Bayern are struggling in the Bundesliga, topped Group B ahead of Lyon. They were, however, not as superior as the Bavarians who against Basle, Cluj and Rome suffered just one defeat, going down 3-2 to Rome after a 2-0 lead in the fifth round of matches.

Only Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, opponents of bottom finishers Werder Bremen, scored more goals than FC Bayern in the group matches. The two London clubs achieved 18 goals each. Tottenham finished top in Group A ahead of Champions League holders Inter Milan. The other group winners were Schalke (Group B), Manchester United (C), FC Barcelona (D), Chelsea FC (F), Real Madrid (G) and Shakhtar Donetsk (G).

A beautiful evening for Franck Ribéry

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The players and coach Louis van Gaal were very happy on the evening of December 7. A sell-out crowd of 66,000 filled the Allianz Arena. The fans stood fully behind FC Bayern, who had lost 2-0 at Schalke on the previous Saturday. This defeat increased Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund’s advantage to 17 points. Franz Beckenbauer stated that defending the title in the German championship was impossible. Bayern’s honorary President demanded that the minimum goal must be to again make it into the Champions League. Second place in the Bundesliga would be a guarantee for that, third place would mean qualifying matches.

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On scoring his second goal against Basle, Franck Ribéry ran to the stands to embrace his cousin Matthieu, who is presently going through a difficult time. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)

The tremendous atmosphere of Champions League matches was proved against Basle. The Swiss “FCB” stood no chance against the German “FCB”, but will play in the Europa League in the New Year after finishing third in Group E. The evening was dominated by Franck Ribéry, who had experienced a terrible World Cup with France and afterwards had lost momentum, partly due to a lengthy injury.

The attacking player scored two goals (35th and 50th minute), and after the second ran to the stands to embrace his cousin Matthieu. “He is having a very difficult time. His mother died a month ago, his brother is dead, and his father died some time ago”, was how Ribéry explained his emotional outburst. After his notable performance the 27-year-old enthused about a “beautiful evening”, which he hopes can buoy him up for the last three matches before the winter break.

Anatoliy Tymoshchuk celebrates his goal during FC Bayern’s 3-0 win over FC Basle. After a long wait the Ukrainian has secured a regular place in the Munich team. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)

Anatoliy Tymoshchuk scored the third goal that evening (37th). The Ukrainian managed to secure a regular place in the Bayern team during the Bundesliga crisis. For the second time in the Champions League, Thomas Kraft replaced regular goalkeeper Joerg Butt. For a change Mario Gomez did not score, but he retained joint second place with super star Lionel Messi (Barcelona) in the Champions League scoring list with six goals, behind the seven of Samuel Eto’o (Inter Milan). “I can be content. We had already qualified as group winners after the fifth match. We scored many goals and conceded just a few. It can hardly go better”, said van Gaal. However, there is still a lot to be done in the Bundesliga.