Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Jose Mourinho hopes of winning the Champions League with three different clubs suffered a blow as Mario Gomez snatched a 90th-minute  winner for Bayern Munich at the Arianz Arena in Munich.

A tap-in from Germany midfielder Mesut Ozil cancelled out Franck Ribery’s first-half strike, but Gomez claimed his 40th goal of the season to give the Germans a slender lead when these two old rivals meet again a week today.

It may have lacked some of the bitterness of previous meetings between two clubs who have won the European Cup 13 times between them, but England’s top referee Howard Webb still had to show eight yellow cards.

His assistant Martin Atkinson, ironically on goal-line duty last night after failing to spot that Juan Mata’s goal for Chelsea had not crossed the line in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final with Tottenham, got his one big call right 10 minutes from time when he ruled that the ball had hit Pepe’s chest and not his arm in the Real penalty box.

The bad blood between two of European football’s heavyweights had built up over 18 previous European Cup clashes. Indeed, no two clubs have met as often in this competition.

Bayern’s contempt for Jose Mourinho (Franz Beckenbauer once branded him a ‘rude, loutish man) was matched by a determination on the part of their coach Jupp Heynckes to knock out a club he led to Champions League glory in 1998 and was then promptly sacked.

Now Heynkes is bidding to take Bayern to the final on their home ground on May 19, while Mourinho’s incentive is a meeting with Real’s bitter rivals Barcelona or his former club.

The Madrid boss had accused the Germans of taking victory for granted but Bayern’s home record against Real certainly inspired confidence. Nine times they had met, and eight times Munich had won with the other match drawn.

Despite that, Jose Mourinho will be wary of his side's inability to keep clean sheets, even when playing at Bernabeu. Los Blancos have conceded in five of their last six games at home, a statistic they can barely afford to let continue when Bayern come calling.  

So it is Advantage Bayern Munich but this one is far from over.

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