FC Bayern took care of business at their home ground today, defeating Olympique Marseille 2-0 and sealing passage to the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League. Marseille had a few moments in the first half, and they certainly didn't roll over and play dead. But Bayern clearly had the advantage in talent and depth, and Ivica Olic's early goal settled the tie effectively.
The club's line-up was an interesting mix, with our back 4 and our 'keeper unchanged from the typical big game line-up, but big changes in the middle and front of the formation - Gustavo and Tymoschuk at the midfield spots, Robben and Gomez on the bench, and especially Olic up top. But the energetic Croatian really answered the bell, scoring twice and threatening Marseille all day before being brought off to a rousing ovation with 15 minutes to go.
Marseille did have a few opportunities, with Neuer was being called on in the early going. But in the 14th minute, Olic broke the deadlock from a Ribery pass after crazy cicle-move. From that point on, it was pretty much mop-up duty, although Neuer did have to make one diving save in the immediate aftermath of the goal.
No one picked up the dreaded 3rd yellow card, although Alaba was booked for a second time. So he now joins Kroos, Gustavo, Mueller, and Boateng (if I'm remembering correctly) as one yellow away from a missed match. Other than the card, though Alaba played well, and showed a lot of savvy in overlapping with Ribery on that left flank.
The real star was Olic, though. Great to see him take advantage of his opportunity. It's been long reported that he's on his way out at the end of the season ... still, i don't think the contracts are finally signed yet, so anything can happen. In the mean time, it's nice to know we have a dangerous "instant offense" as we move into the later stages of 3 separate competitions.
Some videos - he's the first, a circular run by Ribery and Olic finding the open space:
And this should have both, although the quality is a little lower:
Back with more later. Seems likely a Bayern / Real match is in the offing, but I'm certainly prepared to support APOEL tomorrow. Thanks for reading.