Bayern buoyed by big Bundesliga win
AFP, Monday 14 Mar 2011
Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery have proven impressively there is still life in Bayern Munich despite a turbulent couple of weeks that culminated in coach Louis van Gaal's contract being cut short.

After a 6-0 drubbing of Hamburger SV in the Bundesliga, Bayern goes into the Champions League last-16 return leg against title holder Inter Milan on Tuesday with its hopes high.

Robben hit a hat trick and Ribery scored one goal and played a major role in another on Saturday to help Bayern bounce back from three straight defeats in eight days.

"One day we are very bad and everything is a catastrophe," Robben said. "Now we are again a super team. Unfortunately, that's how it is in football." Bayern is out of the German Cup and the best it can hope for in the Bundesliga is to finish second and seal a place in next season's Champions League.

That means that both titles Van Gaal won in his first season are gone. Bayern reacted by forcing Van Gaal to leave at the end of the season, one year early.

And the only title Bayern can hope to win is the Champions League. It reached the final last season, only to lose 2-0 to Inter.

Bayern's late goal in Milan, scored by Mario Gomez, gives it a realistic chance of advancing to the quarterfinals.

That was one of Bayern's better games this season, before the club went into the three-game slump at the worst possible time.

Robben and Ribery, Bayern's pair of wingers popularly called "Robbery," tore Hamburg apart with inspired play and scoring efficiency, but Bayern is still 16 points behind leader Borussia Dortmund and seven points behind second-place Bayer Leverkusen.

"It was a very important reaction," Ribery said. "Six goals, that's great, and it's also very important for Tuesday's game. But it's going to be a very dangerous game." Robben added: "It was a very important day for the coach but also for the team." While Van Gaal said he though the team won "one for me," captain Philipp Lahm said the players' priority was the club.

"Every player wants to be in the Champions League," Lahm said.

While Bayern celebrated its biggest win of the season, Inter struggled to a 1-1 draw against Brescia and could be without Brazilian central defender Lucio because of a leg injury. Bayern says all of its players are fit.

Lucio will travel to Munich, but if he's unable to play, Ivan Cordoba or Cristian Chivu will likely pair with Andrea Ranocchia in central defense.

Diego Milito was included in the squad, but he's unlikely to play because of an injury, meaning Goran Pandev will probably partner Samuel Eto'o in attack.

Pandev noted that Inter needs to beat Bayern 2-0 like it did in last year's final.

"This is just like a final, and if we play like Inter we can replicate that great result," Pandev said. "We've got to attack Bayern from the opening minute and score to put pressure on them." "They won (in Milan), so why can't we win there?" Eto'o said. "With all due respect for such a great club, we can do it." Eto'o has scored 31 goals this season in all competitions with Inter: 19 in Serie A, seven in the Champions League, one in the Club World Cup, two in the Italian Cup and two in the Italian Super Cup.