Bayern talk up chances of reaching home final

 

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The Independent Online

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the Bayern Munich chairman, fancies his side's chances of reaching the Champions League final – to be held at their own stadium – after Mario Gomez's 90th-minute goal gave them a 2-1 home victory over Real Madrid in the first leg of their last-four tie on Tuesday night.

"It was an emotion-laden match," Rummenigge said. "Real showed just what a good team they are. They played very well at the start, but they were a little shocked by our [first] goal. What they have up front with [Karim] Benzema, [Mesut] Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo is first class.

"At the end we had the luck on our side and we won 2-1. We can be proud of the victory. We're not without a chance in Madrid."

Bayern's players were also bullish about their chances, although Gomez yesterday sounded a note of caution by admitting 2-1 was a "dangerous" result. "You don't play down having Real as the opposition," he said. "[Jose] Mourinho has made a team out of a

group of

individuals at Real, but they didn't show it last night, which is to our credit. A 2-1 win is a dangerous result, but we're always good for a goal with the strength we have up front."

Philipp Lahm, who set up Gomez's winner, added: "Madrid will have to come at us now, and that obviously plays to our strengths. We can afford to sit back a little."

The manner of Real's reverse raised questions about the tactics of Mourinho, above, and prompted criticism of left-back Fabio Coentrao, who allowed Lahm to skip past him and cross to Gomez.

Although he was given unequivocal backing by Mourinho, the 24-year-old was rubbished in the Spanish press. Marca noted that it was Coentrao, who was criticised after being photographed smoking "as a birthday celebration", who conceded the free-kick that allowed CSKA Moscow to score a late equaliser in their last-16 first leg in February.

Coentrao's team-mates preferred to focus on the positives from Tuesday's game as they prepared for Saturday's Clasico at Barcelona.

"We believe in our strengths and I am convinced we will get to the final," Ozil, who plays in the Germany side with many of the Bayern players, said. "I am a bit sad about the defeat but I have a positive feeling. We'll meet again in Munich."

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