A Walk Down Memory Lane: That Night in Turin

Joern Pollex

As FC Bayern heads to Turin to take on La Vecchia Signora in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarterfinal tie, let us remember the Bavarians' previous visit to one of the cauldrons of Italian football.

Mario Gomez's hair was barely kept in place by the hair band; it flowed ruggedly behind him as he ran down the pitch in Turin, celebrating the goal which confirmed Bayern's spot in the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League. In truth, Bayern should have been knocked out on Match day Five. Juventus had needed a point to qualify that match day; Bordeaux, who had already qualified, had beaten them.

The fairytale team of the the Champions League of 2009-10 was perhaps a toss up between Lyon and Bayern. However, the fairy tale would never have come around without that match. Louis Van Gaal's team stepped onto the pitch filled with confidence. When David Trezeguet struck early on, the Bayern players did not quiver. Instead, a foul on Ivica Olic resulted in a penalty soon afterwards. Juve's nightmare penalty man, Hans-Jorg Butt came running to the penalty area and slotted calmly past Gianluigi Buffon for his third career goal against the Italians.

The celebrations were muted; the job was not done yet.

Bayern dominated the proceedings. The monstrous and silky duo of Mark Van Bommel and Bastian Schweinsteiger left Juve breathless. Schweinsteiger, the young German who had given more attention to improving his hairstyle rather than his rather average wing skills, was seemingly coming off age finally in front of everyones' eyes. His shots troubled Juve endlessly as Buffon was forced to produce one after another save.

Eventually, though, Buffon would concede a second.

Ivica Olic got Bayern's party under way in the second half when he scored a goal just past the 50th minute; he celebrated with his strike partner, Mario Gomez. The duo back then was called "Golic" of course. However, Van Gaal's Bayern, despite conceding few goals in the league overall, was notorious for the problems at the back. A one goal advantage was never going to suffice for this wonderfully adventurous side. Schweinsteiger tried his luck but couldn't find the third.

Late in the second half, just with over seven minutes to go, Mario Gomez scored a goal in classic Gomez poaching style. Many teams would have shut up shop knowing that they were through at this stage. Van Gaal's Bayern, however, was simply built differently. The hungry machine wanted more to fuel their joys.

The man who had helped destroy Bayern in 2008 e nroute to a UEFA Cup victory for Zenit St Petersburg had the final word. Thomas Müller set him up for a shot from outside the box. Anatoliy Tymoshchuk scored a beautiful goal from outside the penalty area. Bayern had well and truly taken away Juve's breath. A Juventus which was sinking downwards saw a Bayern side which was on its way back to the upper echelons of European football take away their pride by ruthlessly battering them.

That victory, in my view, allowed Bayern to finally open up and return to near the top in the Champions League. The two final appearances which followed were fueled by that one magical night. While many of you might beg to differ and say that Jupp Heynckes fueled the comeback when, in 2009, he rescued the side from Jürgen Klinsmann's naivety, I feel that the victory in Juventus was more crucial than those five wonderful matches which saw Bayern take second place in the league.

Now, Juventus is a different side. They are one of the best in Europe and are looking to return to the semis for the first time in a long time. They will be looking to overturn a first leg deficit in their Champions League quarterfinal tie against Bayern. Is Bayern set for yet another magical night in Turin? Or, is another shock in store for us long suffering Bayern fans?

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