Bayern Munich took a
huge step towards the Champions League semi-finals when goals by
Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben gave them a clinical 2-0 win at
Olympique Marseille on Wednesday in the first leg of their
Gomez gave Bayern the lead just before half-time when
Robben's defence-splitting pass sent him clear and his shot beat
Elinton Andrade who should have done better.
The Bundesliga side, who are desperate to reach the final
that will be staged in their own stadium, dominated the second
half and the outstanding Robben doubled their lead after 69
minutes to put them firmly in the driving seat for next
Tuesday's second leg.
Marseille had a few early chances, notably when Rod Fanni's
header was parried by Manuel Neuer into the path of Loic Remy
only for the France striker to lash his close-range shot wide.
The French club's task will be even harder in the second leg
as holding midfielder Alou Diarra picked up a yellow card and
will be suspended.
"We did some good things until the opener but their goal
really hammered us considering what we had achieved before they
scored," Marseille manager Didier Deschamps told reporters.
"The second half was much harder. We faced a very good team.
We played with heart but there's a gap between the two teams and
everybody saw that."
Without centre-back Souleymane Diawara and goalkeeper Steve
Mandanda, both of whom were suspended, Marseille were never
sharp enough to pose much threat to a Bayern side who had scored
22 goals in their previous five matches.
Bayern's coach Jupp Heynckes had said on the eve of the game
that Marseille's main strength was their passion and the Stade
Velodrome atmosphere but the disenchanted home fans were silent
throughout apart from when they were booing former winger Franck
Ribery on his first return to his old club.
All the noise came from Bayern's fans who had plenty to
cheer about after a slightly nervy start.
Marseille did start brightly with Remy giving the visitors a
let-off with his wayward finishing.
Bayern began to take control as the first half went on
without carving out too many chances and they took the lead in
controversial fashion after 44 minutes.
There was nothing wrong with Gomez's finish but the Bayern
counter-attack began when Philipp Lahm handled the ball as he
claimed it from Mathieu Valbuena.
Marseille, the 1993 champions, had a chance to level early
in the second half when Remy took advantage of some sloppy
defending to flick the ball past Jerome Boateng but his poked
shot was then blocked by Neuer.
Robben produced a moment of real class to double the lead,
playing a neat one-two with Thomas Muller before sliding a shot
beyind Marseille's third-choice keeper Andrade.
While Robben and Heynckes both said the job was not done
after, Bayern look certain to reach another Champions League
semi-final and a probably clash with Real Madrid who are
well-placed after their first leg against Apol Nicosia.
"We achieved our goal which was winning here while keeping
our goal clean," Heynckes told reporters. "I'm glad with the way
we played the match.
"Though I have no doubt [for the return leg], I still have
respect for Marseille. A quarter-final is two legs tie, I know
football well enough to keep that in mind."
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