Storm over Munich

There was talk of a major crisis at FC Bayern Munich. Even President Uli Hoeness felt the season’s success hinged on the crunch game against FC Basle. But then in the Champions League, the record German league champions’ provided further impressive evidence of just how good they are by winning 7-0 (3-0). It came just three days after they had beaten TSG Hoffenheim 7-1 (5-0) in the Bundesliga. Coach Jupp Heynckes’ team duly advanced to the quarterfinals of Europe’s premier competition and they are the only German club through to the last eight. Five points adrift of Borussia Dortmund in the battle for the league championship, Munich are not in the ideal position but their great form at the moment leaves millions of fans still hopeful that the trophy will find its way into Bayern hands on 5 May.

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Bayern Munich’s great striking force: Mario Gomez (right) and Franck Ribery (lefts) having “fisticuffs”, Arjen Robben is laughing. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)


“The 7-0 win against Basle just shows that this club is suddenly capable of everything. Not only because of Mario Gomez,” commented the internet site of the “Stern” magazine (stern.de) in an article titled “Storm over Munich”. “Brilliant. Gripping. Stunning. Bayern storms into the quarterfinals with their biggest ever Champions League win,” continued the piece. Players and coach Jupp Heynckes were all very pleased with their evening’s work. “That was fun. Seven goals in the Champions League – amazing,” said Arjen Robben. Heynckes himself felt he had seen a “perfect game”. Hoeness, who was seen celebrating in the stands after Munich had turned around the 1-0 deficit from the first leg before half time, commented, “It was great watching.”

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Mario Gomez scores seven in three days

The team went on to produce a fantastic spectacle and an excellent performance. If Bayern plays in the same vein then their dream of a place in the final of the Champions League in their own stadium on 19 May could well come true. By scoring 14 times within the space of three days, Munich has reversed the weak start to the New Year which included loses in Basle, Leverkusen and Mönchengladbach. The team were determined to hit back at the harsh criticism explained Uli Hoeness.

Bayern were as impressive against Basle as Barcelona were a week previously in their 7-1 win against Bayer Leverkusen. In contrast to Munich, the Spanish club had won the first leg 3-1.

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Mario Gomez (foreground) scores four times for Bayern in the 7-0 win against FC Basel. The striker gets past David Angel Abraham. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)

Attention once again centred on Lionel Messi who bagged an amazing five goals. A German international, and a totally different style of player to Messi, found his way into the record books too in the win over Basle. After Arjen Robben (10th minute) and Thomas Müller (42nd) had scored their first goals in the current Champions League campaign, it was now time for Mario Gomez to enter the fray. Messi had scored five fantastic goals and it Gomez’s turn to strike four times (44th/50th/61st/67th) – with his left, right and twice with his head. The excellent Franck Ribéry laid on most of them. Gomez became the first German player to hit the back of the net four times in a single Champions League match.

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Franck Ribery (centre) is back in fantastic form. Both Adison Tavares Varela Cabral (left) and Granit Xhaka were unable to stop him. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)


Prior to the league game against Hoffenheim, Gomez hadn’t scored in four games. But Heynckes stuck with him: “I never for a moment thought of replacing him. He’s so important for us.” What followed were two marvellous displays by the 26-year-old who has improved his tally for the season to 34 goals in 36 matches. "Somebody just has to convert my team mates’ great work. It’s why I’m on the pitch,” he said after the final whistle had been blown. His fourth Bundesliga hat-trick in the current season in the 7-1 win over Hoffenheim has increased his scoring record to 21 in 25 league games. German national coach Joachim Löw, who watched the Basle game live in the stadium, must also be delighted that his international striker is in such good form.

A great evening was brought to a close by the seventh goal through Arjen Robben (81st). Returning after a long injury, Bastian Schweinsteiger came on as substitute as he did against Hoffenheim. Bayern’s hopes of also going on a winning run in the Bundesliga are also resting his shoulders. The two top favourites for the league championship meet in Dortmund on 11 April. Beforehand Borussia face tough away games against third and fourth placed Schalke 04 and Borussia Mönchengladbach respectively. After two Bundesliga losses (0-1, 1-3) this season, Munich will however have a lot of respect going into their game on 21 March – they are away to Mönchengladbach in the German DFB Cup competition. Should they win and Dortmund do the same against second division Fürth, then it will set up a repeat of the duel between FC Bayern and Borussia Dortmund in the final of the DFB Cup on 12 May.