Bayern Munich out to finish job
With a comfortable 2-0 cushion from the first leg, Bayern Munich is looking to finish off Marseille and advance to the Champions League semifinals.
The four-time champions have won 12 of their last 13 games at home in the competition, and have also won seven straight as they maintain their push for three trophies.
”We want to be one of the four best teams in Europe,” said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm. ”We’re in a very, very good position. If we concentrate and play football, we won’t run into trouble on Tuesday.”
Marseille, meanwhile, has lost eight of its last nine games in all competitions. The French side drew the other game in that run and has not won a game since a 1-0 victory over Inter Milan on Feb. 22.
Goals from Arjen Robben and the 11th of the competition for Mario Gomez in Marseille leave Bayern ideally placed to take another step toward reaching the final in its stadium on May 19.
”We can be very satisfied,” said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after his side had ”thrown the door to the semifinals wide open.”
It’s a remarkable turnaround for a club that appeared to be in crisis a month ago when a 2-0 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen left it seven points behind Bundesliga leader Borussia Dortmund, while Champions League ambitions were on hold after a 1-0 defeat at FC Basel in the first leg of their round of 16 tie.
Bayern bounced back from the Leverkusen defeat with 20 goals in three games, including seven against Basel in the return leg as the German side posted the biggest winning margin in a knockout game of the Champions League.
Saturday’s 1-0 win at Nuremberg in the 184th Bavarian derby cut the gap with Dortmund to three points, and Bayern will also face the Bundesliga leader in the German Cup final on May 12.
Marseille will take some heart from its 3-2 win in Dortmund during the group stages. Its weekend game against French league leader Montpellier was postponed to allow it to prepare for what would be a mammoth upset.
”We have a chance, but it’s minuscule,” admitted Marseille coach Didier Deschamps, who lifted the Champions League trophy after the French side’s previous game in Munich – a 1-0 win over AC Milan in the 1993 final.
”We will do our best to get the best possible result, knowing that Bayern are very good at home.”
Marseille is languishing in ninth place in the French league.
The French side will need goals to qualify and will be looking to Ghana winger Andre Ayew and France forward Loic Remy – who both scored in Dortmund – to provide them.
Remy is the club’s top scorer in the league with 10 goals while Ayew has seven, but former Marseille and Bayern striker Jean-Pierre Papin warned against an over-dependence on them.
”(Remy’s) only just coming back from injury and needs to get his rhythm back. Ayew isn’t 100 per cent either because of his shoulder problems,” he told Marseille’s website.
Papin sees little chance of an upset.
”An upset is always possible, but honestly, I think it’s going to be tough. Bayern are a very experienced team, comprised exclusively of internationals,” Papin said.
Marseille will welcome back goalkeeper Steve Mandanda from suspension, while Bayern picked up five yellow cards in the first leg, including one for Bastian Schweinsteiger which rules him out on Tuesday.
The winner will likely face Real Madrid in the semifinal. The Spanish league leader holds a 3-0 cushion over unheralded Cypriot team APOEL Nicosia on the other side of the draw.
”We can’t already think we’re playing against Madrid, no, no,” warned Franck Ribery, who played two seasons for Marseille before his transfer to Bayern in 2007.
”The job isn’t done yet.”