Robben was Bayern's matchwinner once more
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Franck Ribery did his best to steal the spotlight from Bayern Munich team-mate Arjen Robben against Lyon, but it is the Dutchman who will be making all the headlines after he capped a sparkling display with a long-range winner, to give Louis van Gaal’s side the advantage going into the second leg in France next week.
Bayern Munich 1-0 Lyon: Match Report
Bayern shocked by Ribery red
Perhaps Ribery felt that his team-mate had been getting too much attention lately; Robben has been overshadowing the Frenchman for a while now. The Flying Dutchman scored the crucial away goal against Fiorentina in the Champions League last-16, before repeating the feat against Manchester United in the quarter-finals. And while Robben netted a hat-trick in the 7-0 demolition of Hanover in Bayern's last league game, Ribery failed to find the net.
Against Lyon, Ribery lost his cool and was appropriately punished – receiving a red card for an over-the-top challenge on Lisandro Lopez. Having been at the centre of the furore surrounding French child prostitution scandal, for which the Bayern star and national team-mate Sidney Govou have been called as witnesses, Ribery had attracted plenty of negative attention. That is sure to continue after the tackle that prompted his dismissal.
Ribery has frequently been linked with a big-money move away from Bayern over the past 18 months – apparently seeking a transfer to a club that will afford him a better chance of lifting Champions League silverware. Ironically, his current side are now in pole position to make the Bernabeu final, but Ribery will have to watch from the stands after his moment of tempestuousness.
It is surely Robben, not Ribery, who Bayern should be desperately trying to convince to stay.
Before his sending-off, Ribery showed glimpses of excellence with some smart turns and touches but his delivery from set-pieces was poor. Robben, on the other hand, dazzled throughout. A constant threat with an electric turn of pace and intricate footwork, he was rewarded for his persistency with the winning goal, his 17th strike in the last 19 games. It was a speculative effort that took a definite deflection off Thomas Muller’s head but it mattered little who netted - it was exactly what Bayern deserved.
Claude Puel’s Lyon side looked a shadow of the side that dumped Bordeaux and Real Madrid out in the previous two rounds, and who defeated Liverpool home and away in the group stage. But it wasn’t anything new. They have flattered to deceive all season in the league and while Bayern have come good in the end domestically, sitting top of the Bundesliga with three games remaining, Lyon lie third in Ligue 1 with no chance of catching table-toppers Marseille.
Lyon were dire in the away leg against Bordeaux and, despite being handed a golden opportunity to take control of this game following Ribery’s dismissal, they were woeful again. The first time left-back Aly Cissokho got into Bayern’s final third was deep into the second half and a hardworking Lisandro was feeding on scraps.
Bayern came out in the second-half looking like the team with 11, while Lyon stayed on the back foot. Not content with that, they decided to make it a fair 10 v10 when key man Jeremy Toulalan saw red for two bookings in less than five minutes – the second could have been deemed a tad unfortunate.
That was just the inspiration Bayern needed to step it up a notch and Robben took the bull by the horns, menacing the Lyon defence until he was substituted, much to his dismay, minutes before the final whistle. Gomez and Schweinsteiger squandered chances to put the game beyond doubt and a lacklustre Lyon, possibly suffering from their long coach journey to Munich, were let off the hook.
Lyon will need to be a very different proposition at the Stade Gerland next week if they are to have any chance of progressing. Having won every match (apart from a 1-1 draw with Liverpool) at home in the Champions League this season, they certainly have the credentials and will be hoping to exploit the travel sickness of a Bayern side who have lost three times on the road in Europe this campaign.