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Rediff.com  » Sports » CL Images: Team ethic is watchword for Bayern's Van Gaal

CL Images: Team ethic is watchword for Bayern's Van Gaal

Last updated on: April 28, 2010 09:29 IST

Ever so reliable Olic

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Striker Ivica Olic might have expected fulsome praise from coach Louis van Gaal after his hat-trick sent Bayern Munich into the Champions League final on Tuesday. Van Gaal preferred to dwell on his team's efforts.

"He scored three goals, he pressed high on the pitch as well, which is important in our organisation," Dutchman van Gaal told a press conference after Bayern thrashed Olympique Lyon 3-0.

"We can rely on him, once again he scored three goals but it is because he is the closest player to the goal. I'm sorry, but that's the way I think," he added.


Image: Ivica Olic of Bayern Munich celebrates after scoring against Olympique Lyon
Photographs: Reuters
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'The whole team played a super game'

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Olic was happy to acknowledge his team-mates.

Three clinical finishes from the Croatian -- one right-foot shot, a left-foot shot and a header -- helped the four-times European champions complete a 4-0 aggregate semi-final success to silence the vocal faithful at Stade Gerland.

"We were good today, the whole team played a super game and therefore it was easy for me to play forward," the Croatian said.

"We were compact. Our defense and midfield played very well and if you get such a performance from the back and the midfield, then opportunities are created for me and that's simple for me," he added.

Olic netted his first after 26 minutes with a neat turn and shot, smashed in a pass from Hamit Altintop after 67 minutes and completed his hat-trick with a header 12 minutes from time.

It was only the second hat-trick in a Champions League semi-final after Alessandro Del Piero's treble for Juventus against Monaco in 1998.


Image: Bayern Munich players celebrate after winning the semis

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First final since 2001

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Following an inconsistent start, Van Gaal, who arrived at Bayern during the close season, has made a strong impact at the German club.

Bayern won only one of their first four Bundesliga matches this season and were on the brink of elimination from their Champions League group after two defeats against Girondins Bordeaux.

But they can now look forward to their first Champions League final since 2001 and are also poised to win the Bundesliga title.

"The players now know what it's like to spend 10 months with Van Gaal, they know it's not easy but they're happy now and so am I," he said.


Image: Bayern supporters hold a mock trophy during the semi-final

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Love to take on Inter in the final

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The former Ajax coach will be even happier if Inter Milan, who won the first leg 3-1, see off Barcelona on Wednesday in the other semi-final.

"I think we are more likely to play Inter and that would give me the opportunity to have a press conference with my friend Jose Mourinho," Van Gaal said.

Inter Milan coach Mourinho was an assistant coach at Barcelona when Van Gaal was manager from 1997-2000.


Image: Louis van Gaal and Arjen Robben

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'They were the stronger team'

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Lyon finished the game with 10 men after centre back Cris was sent off just before the hour. He was booked for a foul on Olic, then shown a second yellow card for mocking referee Massimo Busacca's decision.

"They were the stronger team. Too bad we failed to equalise (after the first goal) because we had a few chances," Lyon coach Claude Puel told French TV channel TF1.

Lyon missed their chance to level on the half hour when Michel Bastos fluffed a left-footed attempt after Lisandro Lopez had found the Brazilian unmarked at the far post.


Image: Lyon's Cris tackles Bayern's Olic during their match

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