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02 Apr 2013

Advantage Bayern in Munich

Two strikes either side of the interval give Bayern Munich the upper hand ahead of next Wednesday’s decisive quarter-final return leg in Turin

The Bianconeri saw this season’s unbeaten Champions League record come to an end after strikes from David Alaba and Thomas Muller handed Bayern Munich a two-goal advantage ahead of next Wednesday’s decisive quarter-final return leg at Juventus Stadium.

Antonio Conte’s men were subjected to a tough evening against the German league leaders and will now hope to draw on the all strength of their passionate home support as they bid to find a way back into the tie.     

Any hopes Juventus harboured of extending their five-game European run without conceding were dealt an early blow as Bayern edged their noses in front inside the opening 30 seconds.

Gathering a stray ball 25 yards from goal, full-back Alaba launched a left-footed strike across goal that clipped off Arturo Vidal before squirming past Gigi Buffon’s despairing dive to hand the hosts the lead.

But the visitors refused to be crushed by their early setback and grew in stature over the subsequent ten minutes, forcing a succession of corners which were efficiently dealt with by an imposing Bayern rearguard.

Andrea Pirlo had the Bianconeri’s first chance of note on 11 minutes, launching a trademark free-kick from 30 yards which passed narrowly over the crossbar.

Two minutes later, Vidal drove at the heart of the hosts' defence and let fly with a well-struck effort that fizzed just wide of Manuel Neuer’s right-hand post.

Having weathered Juve’s instantaneous response, Bayern regained their initial rhythm and found particular joy through the weaving runs of winger Arjen Robben, introduced as an early substitute in place of Toni Kroos.

And the flying Dutchman almost doubled the hosts’ lead when the ball fell kindly for him in the area following a heavy spell of pressure, only to see Buffon thwart his snap shot with an instinctive block.

Drawing inspiration from a vociferous capacity crowd in Munich, Jupp Heynckes’ men continued to crank up the tempo and set Bianconeri nerves jangling when Franck Ribery rolled the ball fractionally past Buffon’s near post on 19 minutes.

And the visitors were again left to breathe a sigh of relief when an unmarked Robben pulled Thomas Muller’s cut back wide of the target having looked odds on to extend the Bavarian side’s advantage.

Conte’s men, however, resisted the heavy oncoming traffic and could have gone into the break on level terms when Leonardo Bonucci glanced a header just over the crossbar after rising highest to connect with Pirlo’s inswinging corner on the stroke of half time.

The second half began very much in the same vein as the first, with Mario Mandzukic drawing a near post save from Buffon after racing on to Luiz Gustavo’s defence-splitting pass.

With Conte preparing to freshen up his strikeforce with the double introduction of Sebastian Giovinco and Mirko Vucinic, Bayern secured the two-goal cushion they had been craving when Muller was left with the simple task of tapping home from close range after Buffon had parried Gustavo’s initial effort.  

With little under half an hour remaining in which to salvage a priceless away goal, Juventus saw a flowing move involving Stephan Lichtsteiner, Vucinic and Vidal culminate in Neuer beating the Chilean’s rasping drive away to safety.

The Bianconeri battled valiantly to find a late consolation as the game ebbed towards its final stages but were ultimately unable to breach Bayern’s resolute defence.

All attentions will now turn to Saturday evening’s visit of Pescara before Conte’s men aim to keep their Champions League dream alive when Bayern travel to Juventus Stadium for next Wednesday’s decisive return leg.   


GOALS: Alaba 1, Muller 63


Neuer; Lahm, Van Buyten, Dante, Alaba; Schweinsteiger, Luiz Gustavo; Ribery (Shaqiri 90+2), Kroos  (Robben 16), Muller; Mandzukic (Gomez 90).

Substitutes not used: Starke, Boateng, Tymoshchuk, Pizarro,

Manager: Heynckes.


Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Peluso (Pogba 75); Matri, (Vucinic 65) Quagliarella (Giovinco 65).

Substitutes: Storari, Marrone, Padoin, Pogba, Asamoah.

Manager: Conte.

REFEREE: Clattenburg (ENG)



BOOKINGS: Mandzukic 44, Chiellini 54, Vidal 67, Lichtsteiner 76, Luiz Gustavo 82