Mario Gomez scored again,
Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben tormented the Real Madrid
defence, but it was teenage defender David Alaba who earned
special praise from Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes.
The Austrian has come on in leaps and bounds this season,
winning a regular place at left-back, and was unfazed by facing
Angel di Maria in the first half and Cristiano Ronaldo in the
second after the two Real players switched sides.
"It's great that he can perform like this as such a young
player," Heynckes told reporters after Bayern's 2-1 win in the
Champions League semi-final first leg.
"He has developed greatly as a player this season and he
can achieve more. He is very ambitious, he is very self critical
and he lives for football, this is a great bonus."
His emergence is also a boon for Austrian football, which
has been in the doldrums for the last few years.
Alaba, born in Vienna to a Nigerian father and Filipino
mother, came through the ranks at Austria Vienna but never
played for the club, although he sat on the substitutes bench at
a league game as a 15-year-old.
He joined Bayern Munich in 2008 and made his debut early in
2010 before being loaned to Hoffenheim.
Heynckes, who took over for a third stint this season, took
a special interest in his development but decided he would be
more suited to a fullback role rather than his original midfield
Alaba, who in 2009 became the youngest player to appear for
Austria, quickly developed an understanding with Ribery on the
left flank and the Frenchman had rediscovered his form after a
frustrating start to the year.
Alaba has the confidence to play his way out of tight
situations in defence and can shoot from distance. His weakness
remains his right foot.
His presence has also allowed captain Philipp Lahm to return
to the right back position where he is clearly more comfortable,
replacing Rafinha, who has been shunted into the reserves.
It was Lahm's run down the right which provided the cross
for Gomez's winner.
Bayern's win on Tuesday gave them a chance of saving their
season after their Bundesliga challenge fizzled out in the
previous seven days following a 1-0 defeat at leaders Borussia
Dortmund and a 0-0 draw at home to Mainz 05.
Having conceded an away goal, however, they still face a
huge challenge at the Bernabeu on April 25 if they are to keep
alive their dream of playing in the final at their own stadium.
"I still haven't decided on my strategy for the return
match," said Heynckes. "But we will stay true to our style and
play offensively. I'm not a coach who thinks defensively."
Ribery told UEFA.com: "I think it was very important for
our confidence to win the home game against Madrid.
"It was a lot of fun, especially with the crowd behind us,
but we're only halfway there. The game in Madrid is going to be
very, very tough.
"I don't think their goal will change much with regard to
our tactics in the second leg. We'll stay compact ... Madrid
will need to attack us and that should give us the opportunity
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