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FOOTBALL

Toni’s late brace put Bayern in UEFA Cup semis

FC Bayern Munich was spared an embarrassing end to their UEFA Cup campaign on Thursday, as Luca Toni’s pair of last minute goals allowed the Bavarian side to squeak past Spain’s FC Getafe and into the semifinals.

Toni’s late brace put Bayern in UEFA Cup semis
Photo: dpa

Germany’s most successful club struggled to keep up with the humble side from Madrid’s suburbs throughout the second leg of their encounter. Only after going to extra time did Bayern’s expensive Italian striker Toni manage to get a 3-3 draw that was enough to see them through to the next round.

Bayern had given the Spaniards a precious away goal in Munich in their last match that ended 1-1, putting them under immense pressure to win on Thursday. However, even after Getafe went one man down in the 6th minute after Ruben de la Red saw red for bringing down Miroslav Klose, Bayern couldn’t dominate the match.

Playing in front of a home crowd of 16,000, tiny Getafe even managed to shock Bayern in the 44th minute with a goal by Cosmin Contra. And the German giants look set for an ignominious exit from the UEFA Cup until their French midfielder Franck Ribéry put the match into extra time with a goal in the 89th minute.

Getafe fought back and scored what looked to be decisive goals in the 91st and 93rd minutes. But Toni would rain on the Spanish celebration party by getting a brace in the 115th and 120th minutes to put Bayern into the semifinals.

“The team fought for the result, whether it was deserved or not is up for debate. We could only lose today and the team realized that,” said Bayern coach Ottmar Hitzfeld. “We made the mistake that we couldn’t get the goal early on.”

Bayern Munich captain and keeper Oliver Khan admitted he had never seen anything like it. With time almost up and Bayern 3-2 down, Kahn sprinted from his goal into the Getafe penalty area and put pressure on the defence for Jose Sosa to whip in a cross which Toni headed home to begin the Bavarians’ celebrations.

“It’s like I said in the dressing room: I’ve probably played 140 times in Europe, against Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid, but that’ll all be nothing compared to what we we’ve just been through,” said the experienced Kahn, 38, who has been at Bayern since 1994 and is to retire this season.

“When we meet up again in ten years’ time, we won’t be talking about Real and United, we’ll talk about Getafe,” he said.

dpa/afp

MUNICH

Four injured as WWII bomb explodes near Munich train station

Four people were injured, one of them seriously, when a World War II bomb exploded at a building site near Munich's main train station on Wednesday, emergency services said.

Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich.
Smoke rises after the WWII bomb exploded on a building site in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Privat

Construction workers had been drilling into the ground when the bomb exploded, a spokesman for the fire department said in a statement.

The blast was heard several kilometres away and scattered debris hundreds of metres, according to local media reports.

Images showed a plume of smoke rising directly next to the train tracks.

Bavaria interior minister Joachim Herrmann told Bild that the whole area was being searched.

Deutsche Bahn suspended its services on the affected lines in the afternoon.

Although trains started up again from 3pm, the rail operator said there would still be delays and cancellations to long-distance and local travel in the Munich area until evening. 

According to the fire service, the explosion happened near a bridge that must be passed by all trains travelling to or from the station.

The exact cause of the explosion is unclear, police said. So far, there are no indications of a criminal act.

WWII bombs are common in Germany

Some 75 years after the war, Germany remains littered with unexploded ordnance, often uncovered during construction work.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about WWII bomb disposals in Germany

However, most bombs are defused by experts before they explode.

Last year, seven World War II bombs were found on the future location of Tesla’s first European factory, just outside Berlin.

Sizeable bombs were also defused in Cologne and Dortmund last year.

In 2017, the discovery of a 1.4-tonne bomb in Frankfurt prompted the evacuation of 65,000 people — the largest such operation since the end of the war in Europe in 1945.

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