Posted On Thursday, October 04, 2012 at 08:09:50 AM
Bayern Munich’s hopes of progressing to the knock-out phase of the Champions League suffered a mauling in Minsk on Tuesday as they slumped to a shock 3-1 defeat at Belarus champions BATE Borisov.
|BATE Borisov’s goalkeeper Andrei Gorbunov (centre) fights for the ball against Bayern Munich’s Claudio Pizarro (right)
With the Group F match being held at Dinamo Stadium in Minsk, Bayern’s defence leaked goals either side of half-time as midfielder Aleksandr Pavlov, then striker Vitali Rodionov put BATE on the way to their second straight European win.
France wing Franck Ribery then pulled back a late consolation in the 91st minute, but a brilliant Renan Bressan goal from a counter-attack, 10 minutes after he came off the bench, left Bayern well beaten.
Having won 3-1 at Lille in France a fortnight ago, victory in Minsk leaves BATE top of Group F while Bayern failed to back up their opening 2-1 home win over Valencia.
This was Bayern’s first competitive match against a side from Belarus, but it proved to be a long flight back to Munich for last season’s beaten Champions League finalists as the hosts claimed a deserved win.
With Arjen Robben left back in Munich to recover from a thigh injury, midfielder Toni Kroos squandered a great chance to put Bayern ahead when he rounded BATE goalkeeper Andrei Gorbunov, but his shot hit the post on 13 minutes.
After a clever pass from right-back Denis Polyakov in the build-up play, BATE’S Pavlov gave Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer no chance with a low shot to put the hosts ahead on 23 minutes. Despite enjoying only 40 percent possession, the hosts were only denied doubling their lead by some fine work from Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
A crisp exchange of passes between Rodionov and ex-Arsenal midfielder Aleksandr Hleb opened up some space and after Hleb’s clever backheel, Polyakov’s fierce shot was brilliantly saved by Neuer on 55 minutes.
BATE kept attacking in waves and when Pavlov found himself in space in the penalty area, he could only fire over with the goal at his mercy with 35 minutes left.
Despite the lion’s share of possession, Bayern looked no closer to breaking the Borisov defence with coach Jupp Heynckes throwing on striker Claudio Pizarro and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Munich were finally floored when Rodionov exchanged passes with midfielder Edgar Olekhnovich which put the striker clear and he brushed off both Bayern defenders Jerome Boateng and Dante to fire home on 78 minutes.
A superb through pass from Bayern’s Swiss midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, who was fresh off the bench, was drilled home by Ribery in added time to give the guests hope. However, with the Bayern defence all at sea, subsitute Dmitri Mozolevsky sprinted clear and passed to fellow replacement Bressan in the 94th minute to compound Bayern’s misery.
Barca lose Puyol in win
Meanwhile, Barcelona captain Carles Puyol will be sidelined for eight weeks after dislocating his elbow in a heavy fall during the side’s 0-2 Champions League victory over Benfica, his club said Wednesday.
The 34-year-old defender “will undergo conservative treatment and is expected to be out for about eight weeks” after tests confirmed he had a dislocated left elbow, Barcelona said in a statement.
Having just returned after two weeks recovering from a knee injury to lead the team on Tuesday, Puyol crashed to the ground as he fought for the ball from a corner in the 76th minute of Tuesday’s match in Portugal. The collision left him on the ground with his arm at an unnatural angle until he was stretchered off to cheers.
The dislocation was treated under anaesthetic in Portugal before he flew back with the rest of his team and spent the night in Barcelona, the club said. He was discharged yesterday.
“I want to thank everyone who looked after me in Portugal. I’ll soon be back to my best again,” the Barca veteran said on his Twitter account.
Puyol missed taking part in Spain’s Euro 2012 victory for treatment to his right knee and later fractured his cheekbone at the start of this league season. Barca coach Tito Vilanova said of Tuesday’s accident: “It was a nasty injury and he has already had one this season so this isn’t very normal.”
► Perhaps this will mean we will be fully focused, concentrated and motivated for each game to go all out
- Jupp Heynckes, Bayern Munich coach