Bayern lose but scrape through
Bayern Munich booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Tuesday despite losing 3-2 to a valiant Fiorentina in a topsy-turvy encounter.
The German side, who had won 2-1 in Munich, went through on the away goals' rule after the aggregate scores finished 4-4. In the end, Miroslav Klose's controversial goal in the first leg proved decisive.
"We did everything we could, but unfortunately it wasn't enough," said Fiorentina goalkeeper Sebastien Frey. "We're disappointed, and then we think that with a 1-1 score in the first leg we would have qualified this evening."
Bayern coach Louis Van Gaal could understand his rival's sentiments. "I can understand that it's hard for Fiorentina because Klose's off-side goal in the first leg proved decisive," he said before praising his brave side. "We made a lot of individual defensive errors that's why this match became difficult. What saved us was that we continued to believe and we knew how to score two beautiful goals."
The home side went two goals up inside 54 minutes through Juan Vargas and Stevan Jovetic before Bayern captain Mark van Bommel's strike on the hour mark began a flurry of superb goals. Jovetic grabbed his second with a solo effort but man-of-the-match Arjen Robben broke Viola hearts with a stunning 30-yard strike.
After the late and controversial drama in Munich in the first leg, the match began tentatively with a string of misplaced passes as the sides struggled against a strong gale.
Vargas tested Hans-Jorg Butt after five minutes with an audacious 40-yard free kick but it was the German side who settled better with Franck Ribery and particularly Arjen Robben causing danger down the wings. Fiorentina, backed by a vociferous home support as well as the wind in the first half, had created little until the 28 minute when Marco Marchionni picked the ball up 30 yards out and instantly let fly. A surprised Butt fumbled to Vargas who somehow outmuscled Daniel Van Buyten and, from a tight angle, found the top corner with his favoured left foot.
Bayern should have equalised six minutes later when Bastian Schweinsteiger's deep header found its way through the heart of the Viola defence to Robben 15 yards out. The Dutchman's left foot shot was true but a flying Sebastian Frey threw himself backwards and brilliantly tipped the Dutchman's shot onto the bar and over.
With Bayern needing a goal, the pace noticeably quickened after the break. Alberto Gilardino had a glorious chance to double the lead five minutes back on the pitch but shot weakly eight yards out allowing Butt to save. Marchionni had been getting plenty of the ball down the right and from another cross on 54 minutes Gilardino backheeled delightfully into the path of the onrunning Jovetic, who drilled home from 10 yards for 2-0. It set off a flurry of goals.
Ribery, largely anonymous until the hour mark, squared the ball for Mark van Bommel to fire unerringly into the corner from 20 yards for 2-1, to put the aggregate scores at 3-3. Four minutes later though and Fiorentina were ahead again.
The dangerous Jovetic began a run from deep, played a one-two with Gilardino before shrugging off the ineffectual Van Buyten and slipping the ball expertly under Butt for a superb solo goal.
Robben matched the skill after 66 minutes. As brilliant as he had been in the first leg, the Dutchman cut in from the right and let fly from 25 yards, arrowing the ball into the top corner for 3-2 and 4-4 on aggregate. The Viola tried to react but it was Bayern who looked the more likely to score and used their experience to close the game out.