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FOOTBALL

Bayern’s Schweini wary of Champions League big guns

German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger admitted he would be pleased if Bayern Munich avoided the Champions League's top teams in the quarter-finals after scraping past Fiorentina this week.

Bayern's Schweini wary of Champions League big guns
Photo: DPA

Having won the first leg 2-1 in Munich thanks to a controversial goal from Miroslav Klose, Bayern went through on the away goals rule in Fiorentina after Arjen Robben and captain Mark van Bommel scored in Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat.

The result meant that the Bavarian giants, currently riding high at the top of the Bundesliga, beat Fiorentina 4-4 on aggregate. But Schweinsteiger was wary about the draw for the last eight on March 19.

Arsenal blasted Porto away 5-0 on Tuesday to make it through to the last eight, while other giants like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Chelsea play their last-16 second legs this week and next.

“Maybe we’ll avoid the really top teams at this stage,” said a hopeful Schweinsteiger. “We’re delighted to be through, as that was our target. Let’s see what happens in the draw.”

Despite scrapping through, Bayern coach Louis van Gaal acknowledged reaching the last eight of European football’s most lucrative competition was all important.

“We’re through, which is what matters in the Champions League,” said van Gaal, whose side were 1-0 down at half-time. “I always had a good feeling about it. “At half-time, I told my players to stay calm, be patient and keep the ball on the floor.”

Bayern’s Germany striker Mario Gomez is expected to be out for two weeks after tearing his right calf muscle in the first-half, but despite his absence captain van Bommel said he never thought his side would go out.

“We had a few nervy moments in front of our goal, but I don’t think we were that bad,” said the Dutchman. “I never had the feeling we’d be knocked out here. Fiorentina only got into the game because we made mistakes. But we kept our cool and deserve to go through.”

But Bayern’s Italian opponents were not happy at their exit, as their defeat was thanks primarily to Klose’s controversial 89th-minute goal in the first leg, which replays showed was yards offside.

Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli said the whole team was devastated.

“It’s a great shame the goal from the first leg proved so important but my players should not feel frustrated,” said Prandelli. “Clearly we’re upset. But when playing at this level and defeating Bayern Munich, you have to be proud.”

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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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