CLUJ - Bayern Munich striker Mario
Gomez silenced his critics with a hat-trick in a 4-0
Champions League win at CFR Cluj on Wednesday to give the
Germans their best start in the competition.
After enduring months of criticism, Gomez helped Bayern
advance to the round of 16 with two games to spare in Group E
thanks to four wins in their first four games.
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With Ivica Olic and Miroslav Klose injured, coach Louis van
Gaal, who has mainly left the Bundesliga's most expensive
transfer on the bench since he joined from VfB Stuttgart for 30
million euros last year, had no choice but to start Gomez.
The 25-year-old, who was close to signing for Liverpool
earlier in the season after failing to clinch a starting spot,
got support from club boss Uli Hoeness this week, who criticised
Van Gaal for overlooking him as well as other players.
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Gomez repaid the trust with a fine performance.
"I think I have played well in other games as well but it
seems I am only measured by the number of goals I score," he
said. "I am happy to have played tonight and played from the
start. It feels good."
Gomez needed only 12 minutes to open his account, firing in
from close range after Cluj keeper Eduard Stancioiu saved an
Andreas Ottl shot.
The Germany international doubled Bayern's lead on 24
minutes heading in at the far post before adding a third in the
71st minute from inside the area.
Substitute Thomas Mueller completed their victory in the
"It was a very good win and our positioning was very good
tonight," said Van Gaal, barely cracking a smile following his
war of words with Hoeness in recent days.
"As for Gomez I think a striker is closer to the goal than
any other player and that's how he scores. It is fantastic to
have such a player on my team.
"Tonight I am happy and Uli is happy so we will have a
drink," said the Dutchman.
The Romanians deserved a goal in the second half after twice
hitting the post but Cluj coach Sorin Cartu conceded that the
Germans were far more effective.
"This shows the difference. We missed (chances) but Bayern
deserved this victory," he said, with his team in third place on
three points from four games.
"This is the difference between us and them and we need to
accept it. This is a shameful score," Cartu told Romanian state
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