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FOOTBALL

European final in sight as Bayern beat Madrid

Bayern Munich made a huge leap towards the Champions League final in their Allianz Arena home after Mario Gomez netted a late winner in the 90th minute, completing a 2-1 victory over Real Madrid, in Tuesday's semi-final first leg.

European final in sight as Bayern beat Madrid
Photo: DPA

After France winger Franck Ribery gave Bayern an early lead, Real’s Mesut Özil equalised before Bayern striker Gomez sealed the deal just in time.

Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes was delighted with his team’s performance, as “Madrid started well, but we took command and played very cleverly.”

“All in all, we deserved to win,” he added. “I had said we would play with passion for 90 minutes and the players did just that.”

But Real coach Jose Mourinho is backing his team to turn things around in the second leg in Madrid and said he felt confident that if his team won at home next week, they too could have the Allianz area in sight.

“We have the second leg to come and it’s not like we have to make a historical comeback, what we have to do is very achievable,” said the ex-Chelsea boss, adding that although it was the first defeat for Real in this Champions League, it had not left him feeling negative.

The Bavarians preserved their remarkable record of having never lost at home to Madrid, with nine wins and a draw in their 10 meetings in Munich since 1976. They are now in pole position to return to Munich for the final on May 19, when they will face either cup-holders Barcelona, or Chelsea.

Both teams started at full-strength, with wingers Ribery and Arjen Robben either side of Toni Kroos behind Gomez in Bayern’s attack.

Mourinho opted to start with France’s Karim Benzema as striker in front of Özil, who was flanked by Argentina’s Angel di Maria and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo.

After Ribery’s penalty appeal was rejected, he fired past Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas from close range on the 17 minute, after Madrid failed to deal with a Kroos corner.

The goal gave Bayern a confidence boost and as midfielders Kroos and Luiz Gustavo pushed forward, while Bastian Schweinsteiger forced Casillas into a diving save.

But the visitors got back on level terms just seven minutes into the second half as

when Benzema fired the ball back across goal sunk Real’s first and only goal.

Then, having squandered several chances and had a penalty appeal turned down, Gomez finally found the net in the ninetieth minute after Bayern captain Philipp Lahm squared for him to bundle the ball home from close range.

There was a melee in the dying stages after substitute Thomas Müller was heavily fouled by Madrid replacement Marcelo, who was shown a yellow card, but Bayern now have everything to play for in the return leg in Spain.

The match was preceded by drama in the changing rooms, when a few Real players’ boots were stolen. In total, the thief managed to snatch six pairs of boots and some shirts from Real’s dressing room in the stadium.

Spanish media reported that Germany’s Özil may have been one of the targets and that Ronaldo definitely had three pairs stolen. A complaint has been lodged by Real to European football’s governing body UEFA.

AFP/jcw

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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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