Wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben usually carry Bayern Munich’s attacking threat but the German side can now add the energetic Ivica Olic to their list of potential match-winners.
The Croatia striker scored a hattrick as Bayern thrashed Olympique Lyon 3-0 away on Tuesday to book a place in next month’s Champions League final 4-0 on aggregate.
Olic, who became only the second player to net a hattrick in a Champions League semi-final after Alessandro Del Piero’s treble for Juventus against Monaco in 1998, pointed at his bleeding head after netting the third with a header despite a deep gash.
“I didn’t want to be substituted because I had the feeling I could score another couple,” he said after he took his tally to seven goals in the Champions League this season, just one behind top scorer Lionel Messi.
Bayern will play either Barcelona or Inter Milan at Madrid’s Bernabeu stadium in the final on May 22.
“The first goal was the most important because then they had to score three goals to get further and that’s not very easy,” Olic said.
“Then I just did the second and the third, you can’t get better than that. It was a dream,” said Olic, looking a bit astonished by his hattrick.
The 30-year-old striker, who joined Bayern on a free transfer from Hamburg SV, has already scored important goals in his first season with the four-times European champions.
He netted Bayern’s first at Old Trafford to spark the Germans’ comeback after they trailed 3-0 against Manchester United in the previous round.
“Scoring three goals in such a game is outstanding... I thought the game against Manchester United was the match of my life but this one was even better, the team made it easy for me,” he said.
His coach and teammates were full of praise for his fighting spirit. “He scored three but his discipline was also fantastic tonight. We know we can always count on him,” coach Louis van Gaal said.
Former Real Madrid and Chelsea winger Robben praised Olic’s performance.
“He’s unbelievable”, the Dutch winger said. “What I like about him is that he always gives more than 100 percent in every game. He keeps running and sometime you have to stop him. He’s so energetic, a great player and very important for us,” Robben added.
Bayern’s Ribery banned for Champions League final
Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery will miss next month’s Champions League final after UEFA banned him for three matches for assault.
The Frenchman was shown a straight red card for treading on the foot of Lyon striker Lisandro Lopez in the first-leg semifinal last Wednesday, which Bayern won 1-0 in Munich.
He missed Tuesday’s win while serving part of the ban.
It means he will miss the final in Madrid on May 22, against either Barcelona or Inter Milan, and will also sit out Bayern’s first game of next season’s Champions League campaign.
Bayern Munich now have three days in which to appeal the decision as they bid to win the Champions League for the fifth time. They last won the title in 2001.
It has been a difficult few weeks for Ribery who was
questioned by French police recently as part of their investigations into the under-age call-girl scandal which has rocked the French national football team.
Lyon had mental failure: Petit
A lack of experience and a mental failure led to Lyon’s collapse against Bayern Munich, according to former France midfielder Emmanuel Petit.
The seven-times French champions, playing in the last four for the first time, had high hopes of reaching the final but they fell flat. Claude Puel’s side were never in contention in the second leg, being outplayed as they fell to an embarrassing 3-0 home demolition.
“Were they repressed by what was at stake? Did they just overthink? Maybe a bit of both. However they paid dearly for their lack of experience,” Petit wrote on sports daily L’Equipe’s website (www.lequipe.fr).
While they were up to the challenge in the first leg at the Allianz Arena, losing narrowly 1-0, Lyon failed to show the same character at home.
“There was no aggressiveness. When you are inferior, you have to bare your teeth,” Petit, a former Arsenal and Barcelona player, added. “You have to make up for your deficiency in the game with mental strength.”