Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben
and Franck Ribery have their "Robbery" double act back in full
swing and the Bavarians, who have hit 14 goals in two games, are
once again one of the most potent attacking forces in Europe.
Few teams can cope with Bayern when their wingers are on
song especially with goal-poacher supreme Mario Gomez, scorer of
seven goals in two outings, lurking in the penalty area to
finish off their runs.
The Allianz Arena goal celebration, one of the most
irritating in European football, has been played over the public
address system 14 times in two matches after the Munich side
unleashed their full attacking power on hapless Hoffenheim and
Following a goal, the natural roar of the crowd is instantly
drowned out by a blast of rock music. The stadium announcer then
gives the first name of the scorer, inviting the fans to reply
with his surname.
"Thank you" shouts the announcer to which the crowd cry
"You're welcome", an intended joke which wears pretty thin after
it has been repeated two or three times.
Poor Hoffenheim had to endure the ritual seven times as they
crashed 7-1 in the Bundesliga on Saturday and Basel, who
believed that it could not happen to them as well, were thumped
7-0 in Tuesday's Champions League match.
Leading 1-0 from a shock first-leg win in the round-of-16
tie, Basel had no clue how to deal with Robben and Ribery who
took it in turns to pull the Swiss champions apart.
Left-footer Robben was a constant menace with his favourite
tactic, picking up the ball on the right touchline before
cutting inside and running at the heart of the defence.
Teams know exactly what he is doing but few appear able to
stop the injury-prone Dutchman who has often been labelled
Frenchman Ribery does similar damage down the left although
he often prefers to go on the outside, slipping to the byline
before pulling the ball back into the centre.
That recipe provided three goals in 17 second-half minutes
against Basel, all of them converted by Gomez, as Bayern surged
into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 7-1 aggregate
The last five days may prove to have been the turning point
for Bayern's season which had threatened to go down the drain
after an indifferent run featuring defeats to Bayer Leverkusen
and Borussia Monchengladbach as well as a goalless draw at
"Maybe the team needed to have their backs to the wall to
produce these performances," said club president Uli Hoeness who
added Basel's poor pitch was partly to blame for the first-leg
Coach Jupp Heynckes, in his third stint at the club, said
that even during recent defeats Bayern played good football.
For all their problems Bayern are still in with a chance of
a Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League treble and will
benefit from Bastian Schweinsteiger's return from injury.
Heynckes has compared Germany midfielder Schweinsteiger to
Barcelona's Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
Bayern trail Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund by five
points with nine games to go and face Monchengladbach in the
semi-finals of the German Cup next week.
The Allianz Arena will also host this year's Champions
Winning a fifth European title on home soil would be the
perfect scenario for Germany's biggest and most drama-prone
club, though neutrals will be hoping European football's ruling
body UEFA at least ask them to change the music.
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