Olic fires Bayern to Madrid

Ivica Olic netted a hat-trick as Bayern Munich defeated Lyon 3-0 on Tuesday to qualify for the UEFA Champions League final for the first time since they last won the competition in 2001.

The Croatia striker extended Bayern's 1-0 lead from last week's semi-final first leg in Munich in the first half and put the tie beyond Lyon's reach with a pair of strikes in the second period. 

This is perhaps the best match of my life, but above all it's a great overall performance by the team. We have to repeat this now in the final itself.
Bayern's three-goal hero Ivica Olic

A jubilant Olic said: "It's incredible to win by this scoreline and to have scored three goals. This is perhaps the best match of my life, but above all it's a great overall performance by the team. We have to repeat this now in the final itself."

Lyon were bidding to reach their first ever European final but saw Michel Bastos and Bafetimbi Gomis spurn the best chances that came their way. The hosts had captain Cris sent off midway through the second half after being shown two yellow cards in quick succession.

Bayern, four-time champions, will meet the winners of Wednesday's other semi-final between Barcelona and Inter Milan in the final in Madrid on 22 May. Coach Louis van Gaal will be aiming to become just the third man to guide two different teams to Europe's top club honour, having tasted Champions League glory with Ajax in 1995.

After seeing his side outplayed in Munich, Lyon coach Claude Puel made his attacking intentions clear by naming wingers Bastos, Sidney Govou and Cesar Delgado in his line-up in support of Lisandro Lopez. Bayern's injury problems meant Holger Badstuber had to move into the centre of defence, with 19-year-old Diego Contento taking his place at left-back, but it was the home defence that found itself under pressure first.

With barely two minutes on the clock, Olic robbed Cris wide on the right and centred for Thomas Mueller, but with only Hugo Lloris to beat he clipped his first-time shot narrowly wide from ten yards. Mueller then flashed a cross across goal before Bayern scored the night's first psychological blow when Mark van Bommel drew a foul from Maxime Gonalons that earned the youngster a booking and a suspension for the final.

The goal the Lyon fans dreaded arrived in the 26th minute when Robben's pass down the inside-left channel found Mueller, who teed up Olic to spin away from his marker and score. The noise of the Bayern fans' drums replaced the roar of the home support and they grew even louder when Bastos spurned a superb chance for an equaliser by volleying wide from six yards.

Bayern pressure proves out
Puel introduced Gomis at half-time and the former Saint Etienne striker sent a thumping volley high over the Bayern crossbar when a left-wing cross fell to him at the back post shortly after his introduction. Bastian Schweinsteiger flashed an eye-catching half-volley narrowly over as Bayern looked to kill the game off, before Lloris produced a fine save to push away Robben's low curling effort.

Lyon's evening went from bad to worse shortly before the hour when Cris received his marching orders, picking up two yellow cards in the space of a minute for fouling Olic and then sarcastically applauding the referee's decision to book him.

The hosts responded with a stinging shot from Govou that Hans-Joerg Butt palmed away before Olic killed off any lingering hopes of a comeback by scampering onto Hamit Altintop's pass and beating Lloris with a crisp finish. Olic secured possession of the matchball in the 77th minute when he nodded home Philipp Lahm's cross from the right.