An evening rich in promise became one of bitter irony and eventual humiliation for Nottingham Forest as they crashed out of the Uefa Cup. British interest in Europe is now reduced to that of pupils.
The lesson last night was counter-attacking, and the eternal truth that luck cannot last for ever and pluck only goes so far. For the first time in their European excursion, Forest found that luck was on the other side, and they did not have the quality to compensate.
Forest had reached the quarter-final by dint of a series of sterling defensive performances, with goals often snatched against the run of play. Last night it was they who dominated - at least while the tie was alive - and Bayern Munich who stole goals.
The German side were hanging on in some disarray when they scored their first, from Christian Ziege after 30 minutes. They were still being outplayed when they added a second, from Thomas Strunz after 43 minutes. That left Forest requiring four to win and, although they stubbornly battled on, it was never on.
Instead it was Bayern who added to their lead, Jurgen Klinsmann scoring his 13th and 14th goals of the competition, and Jean-Pierre Papin his first of the year. Forest could only offer a late goal from Steve Stone.
To add to the irony, the blame for Bayern's critical opening goal fell to Mark Crossley. Like David Seaman with Arsenal last year, the hero of the European campaign was the villain of its final act.
Crossley was slow to get down to a tapped free-kick and the ball bobbled past his flailing arms. The killer second goal was deflected, and it was all over.
Yet it had all started so brightly. Bryan Roy had passed a fitness test on his thigh strain and was in the mood to play. One early dribble was only halted on the edge of the area, then he received a Stone cross, juggled with the ball, flicked it over his head and volleyed - but too weakly.
Forest were in command and almost went ahead in the 16th minute. Ian Woan forced a corner from which Stuart Pearce volleyed strongly, only for Strunz to clear off the line.
A measure of Forest's pressure was the sight of Lothar Matthaus needlessly conceding possession. He should have had further reason to be rattled as Steve Chettle flicked on David Phillips's free-kick only for Colin Cooper to head over.
Five minutes later Cooper, having fouled Klinsmann, watched aghast as Ziege drove the tapped free-kick past the floundering Crossley.
Cooper nearly made amends, finishing smartly from a Chettle nod-down four minutes later, but the "goal" was ruled offside. It proved to be Forest's last chance. Two minutes from half-time, a corner was pulled back to Strunz and his shot was deflected past Crossley by Markus Babbel.
The second half was cruel to watch. Bayern, their 11 internationals now confident and relaxed, drew Forest on to them and hit them, repeatedly, on the break. "It was an object lesson in counter-attacking," Frank Clark, the Forest manager, said.
After 65 minutes Mehmet Scholl's cross found Klinsmann. Although Chettle headed his first effort off the line, he followed up with a typical acrobatic volley. Seven minutes later Papin headed in Dieter Frey's cross. Then Klinsmann ran on to Scholl's pass and rounded Crossley. Stone's goal, following a one-two with Jason Lee, was no consolation.
"The first goal was vital," Clark said. "If we had got it, it might have been different. I am still proud of what we achieved, and when they reflect in the morning the players should be too."
Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Crossley; Lyttle (Haaland, 74), Cooper, Chettle, Pearce; Stone, Bart-Williams (McGregor, 65), Phillips, Woan; Roy, Campbell (Lee, 65).
Bayern Munich (1-4-4-1): Kahn; Matthaus; Strunz (Frey, 61), Babbel, Helmer (Kreuzer, 81), Ziege; Papin, Sforza (Nerlinger, h/t), Herzog, Scholl; Klinsmann.
Referee: P Ceccarini (Italy).
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