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Last season, Bayern Munich came back from two goals down on the road in Champions League, using a late goal to pull even on the scoresheet while sending their club through on aggregate. This season, Inter Milan has done the same to them, sending FCB out of the competition on a 87th minute goal from Goran Pandev. Bayern, after having a two goal cushion for most of this match, is out of Champions League at the Round of 16, away goals deciding the 3-3, aggregate result.
Three minutes in, Inter had pulled-back the goal they gave up at the San Siro, Samuel Eto'o scoring after he beat the Bayern line to a Pandev pass, the assistant referee electing to keep his flag down though it looked like Eto'o had a head and a shoulder's advantage. Beating Thomas Kraft low, Eto'o evened the tie, 1-1.
By the time halftime came, Bayern has taken control of the match, scoring twice in a nine minute stretch in the middle of the period. In the 22nd minute, Mario Gómez took advantage of Júlio César mishandling a long shot from Arjen Robben, putting a shot back over his head into an undefended goal to give Bayern a 2-1 lead.
In the 30th minute, Thomas Müller made it 3-1, chipping the ball over an oncoming César, beating the Inter `keeper after he had been put in behind the Nerazzurri defense.
Bayern had two glorious chances to make it 4-1. Franck Ribéry was allowed an uncontested run on goal from 30 yards out thanks to a Lucio misread, but the Bayern winger failed to beat César, allowing the Brazilian to save over the bar. Minutes later, a ball rolled across the face of an unprotected goal by Mario Gomez almost saw Müller record his second goal, but a desperate lunge from Andrea Ranocchia saw the ball off the post in out, preserving Inter's two goal deficit.
The second half saw Bayern maintain control of play until the 66th minute. Then, a ball played in from the left by Coutinho allowed Samuel Eto'o to set up Wesley Sneijder for a one-time shot from 20 yards. The ball went straight into the lower left hand corner, making it 3-2 on aggregate.
It was a relatively similar set-up that led to Pandev's winner. Inter, having played seven minutes of desperate football, worked the play from their left flank toward the middle. There, Samuel Eto'o as given the ball, eventually laying-off into the space to the right of goal. Goran Pandev came into the ball, opening up his left foot to the shot. The ball was perfectly placed high and to his left, beating Kraft for what would be the tie-wining goal.
The shot left Bayern and supporters shocked, a surprise the home side could not shake off in time to threaten for a winner. Though they pressed over the last seven minutes, Bayern never threatened to reclaim their lead. In a fashion so similar to last year's match at Old Trafford as to render the defeat ironic, Bayern Munich was sent out of Champions League just after most had becomes accustomed to the idea of them going through.
With Goran Pandev's late goal, it's the holders that survive.
Inter Milan was able to hold out for the last seven minutes of play in Munich, preserving the 3-2 result that sends them through to the quarterfinals. The second leg score give the holders a 3-3, aggregate result, a final that sends them through on away goals.
The result has left the Allianz Arena and the home side shocked. For most of the match, Bayern played with a two goal lead. For only the last seven minutes, Inter was in a position to go through, but when the final whistle blew, almost every player on the pitch for the Bavarians collapsed on to their back and brought their hands to their head, eliminated for the second consecutive season by Inter Milan; this year, three steps before the final.
The defeat was so harsh that match's end saw a number of Inter players consoling their counterparts after their team's initial celebrations. The fans, after 10 minutes looking on in shock, slowly started leaving the Allianz, their side shockingly put out of Champions League.
The 80th minute sees Inter Milan approaching desperation, needing a goal to keep their Champions League alive. Whereas most of the match as seen Inter start to pressure as Bayern as brought to ball close to the center circle, the Nerazzurri is pressuring all the way up the pitch. After a few minutes of troubling Bayern this way, the home side has started to adjust, sit deeper, and create the dynamic we almost always see at the end of one goal matches: All-out attack versus all-out defense.
After a couple of Inter forays down their left were broken up at the edge of the attacking third, Bayern was able to break out and establish possession in the Inter half, wasting two minutes of time while the Nerazzurri collapsed in defense, set-up, and then tried to win the ball. Once the did, the holders broke into the Bayern end but quickly gave the ball away when a diagonal pass from the right was over-hit in trying to connect to Wesley Sneijder.
One minute later, the miraculous moment comes. Inter finds the equalizer - the goal that should send them through. Coutinho brings the ball in from the left and gives to Samuel Eto'o, whose nice work on the ball draw the defense before he lays a pass off to the right of the area. The ball rolls slowly, as if bowled out of somebody's arm, and waits for Goran Pandev to come from deep, hitting a perfect ball first time, the left-footed shot going into the upper left hand corner.
Inter Milan ties the match, 2-2. They draw even in the tie, 3-3, but now holding two away goals, the holders are set to survive, provided the can keep Bayern off the scoresheet until the 95th minute.
At halftime we speculated the likes of Anatoliy Tymoschuk and Holdger Badstuber would be used by Louis van Gaal to reinforce Bayern Munich's two goal, UEFA Champions League lead over defending champion Inter Milan. In the 68th minute, our speculation was proven wrong, with the Bayern coach turning to Hamit Altintop as his first option in reinforcing his defense. The Turkish veteran will play left wing, with Arjen Robben being sacrificed.
Early in his shift, Bayern generated a small chance, with Franck Ribery playing a ball in from the left. A decent ball found few targets in the middle of the area, with Bayern's lack of presence in the boss exemplifying the change in the match's tone. Whereas most of this match has been dictated by Bayern's tempo, Sneijder's goal has given Inter new life. It would be too much to say the Nerazzurri are controlling play, but their renewed ambition has made Bayern more conscious of giving up a tying goal.
Mario Gómez nearly put this match away. In the 62nd minute, his volley from 17 yards out was parried by Júlio César, keeping the score 2-1 (3-1), but a few feet to either side of the goalkeeper, and the German's well-struck ball would have ended Inter Milan's defense. Instead, Bayern maintains their lead.
The chance came on a ball played behind the defense to the left of goal, with a hard-working Franck Ribéry saving the ball. The winger chipped a ball back toward the middle, over Thomas Müller, to Mario Gómez at the edge of the penalty area. The striker got his knee above a ball just under knee-high, putting a bullet straight at César. The `keeper's punch kept Milan within two.
One minute later, Milan halved the lead. Coutinho, coming in from the left, played a ball to the right of the area. Samuel Eto'o took a touch and, rather than taking on Danijel Pranjic, laid a ball off for an oncoming Wesley Sneijder. The Dutch attacker's first shot was a perfect ball, finding Thomas Kraft's lower right hand corner from 20 yards out. With the first meaningful threat they had mounted since the match's third minute, the defending champions are within one goal of advancing.
We're now 10 minutes into the second half, and Inter Milan still looks incapable of defending their title. Bayern Munich is not only up two, 3-1, but they're dominating possession, and as the match progresses they seem more willing to play patiently, a slight change some a style that normally sees them aggressive they to utilize their star winger players.
In the 57th minute, however, Inter was granted a chance, with Breno earning a yellow card after he brought down Goran Pandev 38 yards from goal. Wesley Sneijder drove a ball toward the center of the area, hoping for some brilliant randomness. The ball came out to the right of goal, from where Inter eventually moved it back down and around to the left, play a ball into space near the left corner of the six-yard box. There, Thomas Kraft came out to cover the ball.
Since, Inter has been unable to build any positive momentum, with Lucio drawing a yellow card after he took down a Bayern player in midfield, preventing a break-out. As the hour approaches in Munich, the score remains 3-1, Bayern.
Leonardo makes the first change. After five minutes of the second half, the Brazilian has seen enough of this team. He looks to his countryman, Coutinho, while bringing Dejan Stankovic off. The veteran Serb was practically silent today. Now, he's giving way for a more attacking option.
In the 51st minute, we get a glimpse of something we had been unwittingly missing throughout the match. Arjen Robben is down, though when the referee comes over to inquire about the extent of his injury, Robben's pain dissipates and reforms as protest. Wesley Sneijder comes over an picks him up, knowing his countryman's tricks.
One minute later, Bayern is against looking dangerous, working the ball from left flank to the arc, almost hitting an oncoming Bastian Schweinsteiger. Andrea Ranocchia is able to put an outstretched foot to the ball before the FCB midfielder an latch onto a shot, breaking-up the attack.
Now in the 53rd minute, Inter is having a spell on the ball, though they have yet to give Thomas Kraft anything to consider. FCB is stil up, 3-1 on aggregate.
After 45 minutes at the Allianz Arena, Bayern Munich are firmly in control after two first half goals. We've already posted the video of Mario Gomez's goal, so we figured it was only fitting to throw up Thomas Müller's as well. Thanks to the German international, Bayern have a 3-1 aggregate lead on Inter Milan and look set to advance to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.
Once again, Inter's defending was poor and Julio Cesar was questionable, but there's no taking away from Müller on this goal. His finish was absolutely superb, even if he should have never been in a position to take his shot in the first place. Here's the video:
Inter Milan have been seriously hurting in defense despite the fact that Lucio, arguably Inter's best defender, was surprisingly declared fit to play. This kind of result would have come as no surprise with Lucio out, but with him on the pitch, Inter's poor defense is slightly startling.
The second half has kicked-off at the Allianz Arena, and early Inter Milan is showing life. Thiago Motta, 20 seconds into the half, comes from his deep midfield position to take the ball off Franck Ribery, and while his foray into the final third is stood up by the back line, it's the type of aggression we saw from none of Motta, Esteban Cambiasso or Dejan Stankovic in the first half.
Soon Bayern is back on the ball, working it down their left flank. Danijel Pranjic is able to play a ball for Franck Ribery, cutting in from the wing. From 25-yards out, Ribery is able to threat a ball through the channel to the right of Andrea Ranocchis, though the ball is a little too heavy for Mario Gómez to retrieve before Júlio César can swallow it up.
In the 48th minute, Bayern's going down their right, getting behind the Inter line before playing the ball back across the middle, and oncoming Bastian Schweinsteiger running into a 22-yard shot hit right at César.
Now in the 49th minute, Inter is still chasing two goals.
Two terrible defenses gave onlookers an exciting half of football, one that played against Leonardo's approach. Setting-up his team to absorb attacks and counter, the Inter Milan coach has been undone by a poor evening from central defenders Lucio and Andrea Ranocchia, with an error by Júlio César compounding problems. Despite an early goal from Samuel Eto'o that pulled his team even, Leonardo finds his team own two goals going into halftime, with Mario Gómez and Thomas Müller staking the hosts to a 3-1 lead.
The scoreline is no less than the Germans deserve, having gone close toward half-time through Frank Ribéry and Müller. Saves by César and Ranocchia have given Nerazzurri supporters hope of resuscitation, though with little to recommend the holders for a halftime comeback, we may be looking at the last 45 minutes of Italy's European campaign.
After three minutes, Inter looked set to vigorously defend their title. A through ball from Goran Pandev and some reticence on the part of the linesman to flag Samuel Eto'o for offside gave the Cameroonian license to make the tie 1-1. In the 22nd minute, however, Inter unintentional enacted a piece of social justice, with Júlio César's mishandling of some Arjen Robben speculation leading to a Mario Gómez goal. Eight minutes later, Robben and Müller combined to give the young German a 30th minute goal and give FCB a commanding 3-1 lead.
Looking to the Inter bench, there's scarce attacking talent ready to help. Coutinho could be brought in for Thiago Motta. Yuto Nagatomo could come in a left back for Cristian Chivu. But with Diego Milito out and Giampaolo Pazzini cut-tied, Leonardo is short on options.
On the other bench, Louis van Gaal has various ways he can sure-up his defense. Holger Badstuber was a surprise omission from the starting XI, while Anatoliy Tymoschuk could help in central defense or midfield.
With another near miss from Bayern Munich we're coming close to being able to say Inter Milan is lucky to still be in this match. They are down two - a daunting task against a quality opponent - but with two golden chances missed by Bayern in the last six minutes, Inter could easily be down more. Yet after Andrea Ranocchia denied Thomas Müller in the 40th minute, the game remains 2-1, Bayern, the Bavarians up two on aggregate.
The change came as Mario Gomez drew Júlio César off his line to the right of goal, putting along the line, across the face of goal. Ranocchia and Müller were in a foot race to get to the ball, a contest that nearly ended in a tie. Ranocchia, however, got there quickly enough to get the first touch, putting it off the toe of Müller's boot and onto the post, where the ball end out into the six yard box. Inter cleared and was saved from going down three, a deficit that would effectively end their tournament.
Minutes later, Inter had their best chance since the third minute, with Wesley Sneijder putting a direct kick just over the bar from 20 yards out. Arjen Robben was given a chance at the other end just moments later, a lax Inter defense giving the winger a chance to the left of goal, eight yards out. The Dutch attacker put his shot into the side netting, outside César's near post.
Bayern Munich supporters will hope Franck Ribéry's missed chance in the 35th minute doesn't come back to haunt them. Up two goals and at home, the squandered opportunity probably won't, but given 30 yards to create a chance against Júlio César, a player of Ribéry's caliber should have done better. Instead, he allowed the `keeper to close the distance and make the save, deflecting Ribéry's shot from 14 yard over goal.
The opportunity came when Inter Milan defender Lucio was beaten far from goal, the Brazilian making a poor decision to challenge Ribéry when he was the last man. The French winger easily got beyond his former Bayern teammate, putting himself in alone on goal. Ribéry, however, never set-up César. Rather, he seemed to wait for the `keeper to react, though by the time César did, the distance between attacker and goalkeeper was such that César was able to make the save.
The missed chance may have alerted Inter to just how close they are to the brink, as the Nerazzurri have held more of the ball since the near goal. Now approaching the 40-minute mark, the score is 2-1, Bayern (3-1, on aggregate).
Mario Gomez has put Bayern Munich back into the lead against Inter Milan, thanks to a great finish by Mario Gomez. Unfortunately, Gomez had his fantastic finish assisted by Julio Cesar. The Inter Milan goalkeeper completely whiffed on an Arjen Robben shot, letting it bounce off of his chest to Gomez. The striker turned and flipped the ball over Cesar, and it found the back of the net. It's hard to decide what was more amazing, the Gomez finish or the Cesar error. Here's the video of the goal:
It's a pretty incredible error, especially considering that Julio Cesar was widely considered to be the best goalkeeper in the world as recently as last season. He was one of the biggest reasons that Inter were able to capture a historic treble, and his dip in form has been somewhat concerning. Still, there's nothing to take away from Gomez. His finish was absolutely fantastic.
Thömas Muller has given Bayern Munich a 2-1 (3-1) lead in just before the half hour mark, giving Bayern Munich a commanding lead on the defending champions. Inter Milan, after evening the tie in the third minute, now find themselves two goals down, with a skillful chip from Müller putting Bayern up two in the 30th minute.
The play started with Arjen Robben, on the ball in the middle of the pitch, playing a ball toward the edge of the penalty area, where Müller was making a run across the top of the box. From there, Müller ran into a ball, the step he had on his mark allow him to take his first touch toward goal. Júlio César came out to cut off his angles, but at 10-yards out Müller had plenty of the goal to work with, using his second touch to chip over the goalkeeper and into the right of goal.
With 120 of 180 minutes played, Bayern is up 3-1, now having one foot in the quarterfinals.
Samuel Eto'o got Inter Milan off to a great start in their UEFA Champions League Round of 16, second leg match against Bayern Munich with this third minute goal, which was thanks to some seriously suspect defending by the Bavarians. Eto'o timed his run into the box perfectly, narrowly avoiding an offside call, and Goran Pandev's through ball was quality, but Inter still shouldn't have been allowed to score so easily, and so early in the game. Check out the video here:
Bayern Munich have since scored another goal through Mario Gomez, bringing Bayern back into a favorable position, but that doesn't mean Eto'o's goal won't come back to haunt them. Another goal would see Inter through on away goals with a 2-2 aggregate score. Based on Bayern's defensive selection, it wouldn't exactly be stunning to see more goals from the visitors. It's hard to believe the scoring is over at 1-1.
Bayer Munich's defense looks terrible. That their attack has held more of the match's possession has masked it, given us the impression that the third minute breakdown may be isolated, but when the back line looked disorganized in trying to deal with a long diagonal ball out of the back, it seems FCB is going to rue Louis van Gaal's decision to go with Daniel van Buyten and Breno in central defense.
Luckily for FCB supporters, their club seems capable of outscoring their opponents, something that became evident in the 22nd minute with the help of Júlio César. Then, Arjen Robben cut in from the right wing and put an innocent (speculative) shot on goal from 24 yards. César tried to take it against his chest but coughed the ball up to his right. There, Mario Gómez was able to play the bouncing ball, putting a shot back, over his head and into goal, giving Bayern a 2-1 lead on the tie.
It was the second goal César has be culpable for in the tie, a rebound he gave up late in the first leg leading to the first goal. Today, his mistake has given control of the tie back to Bayern, who are now even on the day, 1-1.
By the 14th minute the sides had fully settled-in with Inter Milan's players having comfortable with their places in the defense, forcing Bayern Munich to become more patient before venturing into the first third. When Danijel Pranjic lost possession along the left to Maicon, Bastian Schweinsteiger was left to calm the team down, becoming a fulcrum in midfield, working the ball from flank-to-flank as a way to say "Calm down. Be patient. We don't need to do this all at once."
The match is, after all, drawn 1-1. Each team has a road goal, after Samuel Eto'o opened the scoring in the third minute. Since, Inter has not had another chance, while Julio Cesar has yet to be meaningfully threatened in the Nerazzurri goal.
The result is a match that can generously be called pensive, if you want to personify it. Bayern is trying to discern a means of breaking down Inter while protecting themselves against the holders' counters. As a result, we're even after 18 minutes, with Samuel Eto'o giving Inter a 1-0 lead on the day.
The Allianz crowd was deterred by not silenced by Samuel Eto'o's early equalizer. After two minutes to adjust, the Bavarian audience is back, cheering on their side, who have settled quickly after their early disappointment. Getting back into their game, Bayern's ventures into Inter's third give us a match that's playing-out very much like the first leg. Bayern has the better of possession but have to be weary of an Inter counter, particularly if the back line is going to be as suspect as it was on the first goal.
In the ninth minute, Inter is able to enjoy their first real spell of possession, kicking the ball around the back before rolling a ball forward for Eto'o as the Cameroonian comes back from the line. Daniel van Buyten follows him and brings him down, perhaps a strange 'thank you' for Eto'o getting in behind him for the goal.
In the 10th minute, Mario Gómez is able to get to the left of Andrea Ranocchia, seal off the center defender before putting a shot on Júlio César from just outside the six year box. César read the play right and came out for the block, taking out Ranocchia in the process. The stretcher is on, but Ranocchia elects to scoot himself beyond the byline. Inter's temporarily with 10.
They're underway at the Allianz Arena, where Bayern Munich is looking to protect the 1-0 lead they earned in Milan. It's been four years since a defending champions left UEFA Champions League this early in the competition. Unfortunately for Inter Milan, it was another Italian team, fellow San Siro inhabitants AC Milan.
Early in the match Wesley Sniejder commits a foul, giving countryman Arjen Robben and opportunity to serve a ball from the right toward the near post. None of his teammates are there, but it's still a dangerous ball that wasn't well defended by Internazionale. Júlio César catches it.
The next time FCB has possession, another foul, with Bastian Schweinsteiger hauled down in midfield. Two minutes, two fouls for Inter, but the free kick is given to them, allowing them to start a mini-break down the left side. Philipp Lahm stands up the counter, allowing Bayern to regain possession.
After losing possession at the edge of the Inter area, Bayern makes the first mistake of the match. Goran Pandev is allowed to thread a ball through the defense, giving Samuel Eto'o plenty of room behind a high line, in front of Thomas Kraft. Replays showed Eto'o was probably offside, but in no whistle goes. The Cameroonian waits for Kraft to commite then puts his shot under him, giving Inter a 1-0 lead in the third minute.
It's a pretty straight forward selection for Leonardo, who looks set to play 4-3-1-2 today at the Allianz Arena, the second leg of Inter Milan's Round of 16, UEFA Champions League tied against Bayern Munich. The holders will be without Argentines Javier Zanetti and Diego Milito, the latter's absence leading Leonardo to chose and attack speared by Samuel Eto'o and Goran Pandev, with Giampaolo Pazzini cup-tied.
At the back, Lucio has made the starting XI, having been a fitness doubt. He'll start along side Andrea Ranocchia in central defense, with Maicon and Cristian Chivu to their right and left. Júlio César starts in goal.
Internazionale, Starting XI: César; Maicon, Ranocchia, Lucio, Chivu; Stankovic, Cambiasso, Motta; Sneijder; Eto'o, Pandev
Bench: Castellazi, Materazzi, Cordoba, Nagamoto, Mariga, Kharja, Coutinho
There are few surprises in Louis van Gaal's selection for today's UEFA Champions League match with visiting Inter Milan, though a staunch FCB supporter may feel that downplays the choices in central defense. Between Breno and Daniel van Buyten starting there and Danijel Pranjic getting the call at left back, Holger Badstuber and Anatoliy Tymoschuk have been pushed to the bench, the German international's inclusion the most curious. Philipp Lahm starts on the right, of course.
Farther up the pitch, Luis Gustavo gets the call along side Bastian Schweinsteiger in midfield, with Toni Kroos missing out. Thomas Müller centers the next band, between Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben. Mario Gomez starts up top.
Joining Badstuber, Tymoshuck and Kroos on the bench and Miroslav Klose, Andreas Ottl, Hamit Altintop and Hans-Jorg Butt, who backs-up Thomas Kraft.
Bayern Munich, Starting XI: Kraft / Lahm, van Buyten, Breno, Pranjic / Gustavo, Schweinsteiger / Robben, Müller, Ribéry / Gómez.
Bench: Butt, Badstuber, Tymoshuck, Ottl, Kroos, Altintop, Klose
In a stunning performance that caused Hamburg SV manager Armin Veh his job, Bayern Munich dropped six goals on HSV this weekend, en route to a 6-0 victory. The first goal didn't even come until the 40th minute. Meanwhile, in Italy, Inter Milan dropped points to relegation threatened Brescia, somehow only managing a 1-1 draw. Brescia out-shot Inter, and the only reason they didn't defeat the defending Serie A champions was because Andrea Caracciolo missed a penalty in stoppage time. Have you learned everything you need to know about this UEFA Champions League encounter yet?
Okay, so you want some more information before deciding that you are properly informed. That's fine, I can live with that. It's always nice when the public wants to be better informed.
Here's another interesting tidbit of information: Franck Ribery is back. I don't mean physically back, as in he's actually playing first team football regularly. He's been doing that for a while now. I mean that he's back to the Franck Ribery of old. The one who cost Bayern Munich a lot of money, was stunning for four-fifths of last season, and had France's World Cup hopes thrown onto his back. As we know now, those problems looked like a baby grand piano on Ribery's back, and he failed miserably in the World Cup, along with his France teammates. He hadn't looked like a world class player for Bayern Munich since then, until about this weekend.
With vintage Ribery in the side, Arjen Robben looked more confident and put in one of his best performances of the season against Hamburg. The Rib-Rob (or Robbery, whichever you prefer) combination is back, and this time they're here with Toni Kroos and without Martin Demichelis. Uh oh.
Meanwhile, their opponents on Tuesday lack that kind of flash and potential to rip teams to shreds. Though they dropped five goals on Genoa not that long ago, it seemed like a minor anomaly when it happened. Inter Milan are good, but they aren't that good.
Still, that performance against Genoa was closer to accurately reflecting what kind of team Inter is than the embarrassing performance against Brescia. Samuel Eto'o's scoring rate has been superb this season, and Wesley Sneijder has done nothing to dispel the notion that he's now one of the 10 or so best attacking players in the world. Javier Zanetti is still going strong at 37 years old, and Esteban Cambiasso seems to be perpetually underrated.
Unfortunately for Inter, Cambiasso looks unlikely to play on Tuesday, along with central defender Lucio. These absences present some serious problems for an Inter team who were already ravaged by injuries to defensive players. If the newfound form, fitness, and chemistry that has propelled Robbery to new heights wasn't already going to be the deciding factor in this fixture, the absence of those two players combined with the form of the two wingers should push Bayern over the top.
The Bavarians stole a late goal at the San Siro to win 1-0, and that deficit seems like it will be very hard for Inter to overturn at the Allianz Arena. They're a good enough team with good enough players that anything can happen, but when Robbery are fit and in form, betting men should avoid laying money against Bayern.
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