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Read Karl-Heinz Rummenigge’s stirring banquet speech after Bayern’s elimination

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The chairman of Bayern Munich minced no words in his assessment of the match, while crediting the team for their remarkable, gritty play.

SpoBis 2017 - Day 1 Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images

My dear ladies and gentlemen, players, Carlo, coaching-staff, it is my pleasure to welcome you here this evening in this beautiful hall here in Madrid. I believe we all were witnesses this evening to a dramatic, emotional, and, in my opinion, fantastic soccer match. [Applause.] And I would like to ... the team ... [microphone cuts out] ... seems to be a Hungarian microphone... Is it working? Good. I’ll speak up.

We were witnesses today, in my opinion, to an incredible soccer match. After 90 minutes, we had won in Madrid 2:1, and I think that if we look back over the entire game, over what happened in the full 120 minutes, then I can only take my hat off – although I’m not wearing one – in respect for this team. [Applause.]

If we look at the last ten days, the script naturally was not entirely to our advantage. It started with the injury to Robert [Lewandowski] during the game against Borussia Dortmund – a foul by the goalkeeper. Then the shoulder injury that forced him to sit out the game in Munich. The next day, Mats Hummels was injured in practice. Jerome Boateng injured after the game.

“There are games that write history. And I believe that this evening we all were witnesses to a game that wrote history.”

And I must say one thing: there are games that write history. And I believe that this evening we all were witnesses to a game that wrote history. Uli Hoeness and I have lived through many a battle, I can tell you that. And those that have stayed with me in my memory were the games Barcelona in 1999 – regrettably a defeat that also hurt very badly. I think we missed winning the Champions League by fewer than 120 seconds then. 2012, after extra time, after the penalty shootout against Chelsea. And the game this evening was also such a game.

If we look at the entire game today, then I wonder a bit: What do these associations actually do? We have six referees on the pitch, six referees! We have a yellow-red card that was not even a foul. We have two goals making the score 2:2, 3:2, that were offside and clearly offside. We have an offside call against Robert Lewandowski as he was running alone toward the goal.

For the first time I have something like furious rage in me. Rage, because we were screwed over. We were screwed over this evening, in the truest sense of the word!

And I have to say that today for the first time I have something like furious rage in me. Rage, because we were screwed over. We were screwed over this evening, in the truest sense of the word! [Long applause.] That notwithstanding I would like to thank the team. When I think about what problems we had before the game, with Mats, with Jerome, with Robert, and also with Manuel Neuer, who for your information suffered a serious injury this evening, will miss eight weeks – namely, who broke his foot on the 3:2 goal, which was offside – then I must say openly and honestly, then I can [microphone cuts out again, applause], then I can say only one thing: we have an amazing team. We have an amazing team with amazing character. [Long applause.]

I believe that another moment has come when we must draw strength from defeat.

The defeat was bitter. But I believe – and FC Bayern is also famous for this – we have often drawn strength from defeats. And I believe that another moment has come when we must draw strength from defeat. Draw strength for the last games of the season – we still have five games, against Mainz on Saturday. We have to put the Meisterschaft beyond doubt; we have a good lead, but, as I said, try to win it as quickly as possible. And next Wednesday we have another important game against Borussia Dortmund, the semi-final DFB-Pokal match.

And let’s give it our all to ensure that this season accordingly continues in a positive direction. Today was disappointing, but there is no reason to feel too much grief now. We are a little angry, a little sad, too. A good friend of mine quoted a saying by Hugo von Hofmannsthal – I believe – who said: “heroism is not seen in winning or in victory in great battles, but rather in enduring unfortunate defeats.” [The quotation is apparently attributed to David Lloyd George.]

It was an unfortunate, undeserved, bitter defeat, but that is no reason for being sad tonight.

I believe I don’t need to say more this evening. It was an unfortunate, undeserved, bitter defeat, but that is no reason to be sad tonight. This evening, I’d love to turn night into day with you, after we saw such a spectacle on the pitch, such fireworks from our team. It was not to be, but there is no reason for that. I thank you. [Applause.] Despite that, I wish you a pleasant evening, enjoy the evening. And in conclusion, it is my pleasure to wish you bon appetit and thus open the banquet. Thank you very much.

[Read the original in German at kicker.]