Monday 22 January 2018

Rummenigge blames fatigue for Bayern blip

Bayern Munich's surprise 3-1 Champions League loss to Porto was the price the five-time European champions paid for a string of injuries and a tired squad that has not stopped playing, club boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said.

The Bavarians, chasing a treble of domestic and European titles, travelled with only 15 outfield players to Portugal for their quarter-final first leg leaving injured Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger and David Alaba, among others, behind.

"I am not prepared to criticise the team," Bayern CEO Rummenigge said in a post-midnight banquet. "There are 13 or 14 players who are at the moment healthy and have been playing three times a week."

Bayern have been cruising towards the Bundesliga title with a 10-point advantage as the injuries seem to hardly affect them domestically.

"But there comes a day when you are a little bit tired, when your legs feel heavy and when you lack some of your concentration," Rummenigge said.

Porto manager Julen Lopetegui said his side can now dream of reaching the semi-finals, but they will need to be "perfect" in the second leg.

Porto take a two-goal advantage to Munich next Tuesday for the return leg after punishing a sloppy Bayern with two early goals from Ricardo Quaresma and a second-half effort from Jackson Martinez.

"Now we have produced a situation for ourselves where we can dream, knowing that we will need to give everything we have got to get through," Lopetegui, a former Barcelona team mate of Bayern boss Pep Guardiola, told reporters.

Martinez, who capitalised on an error by Jerome Boateng in the 65th minute to round Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer for Porto's third goal after Thiago Alcantara had reduced the arrears, said he was not yet 100 percent fit.

The striker was a constant menace for Bayern's defenders and his tenacious harrying was rewarded after three minutes when he robbed Xabi Alonso before being brought down by Neuer for a penalty that Quaresma converted.

It was a similar story for Porto's second goal when Quaresma picked the pocket of Dante before beating Neuer with a clever finish on 10 minutes.

"It was fundamental that we tried our best to impose ourselves on Bayern and not give them a chance to settle," Martinez said.

Quaresma also sought to heap praise on Porto's team ethic, saying hard work had proved the difference between the two teams.

"There are no stars here. We all work hard for our results," the forward said.

"The win is more important to us than the display. We have all worked extremely hard to get this win to give ourselves something to defend in the second leg." (Editing by Toby Davis)

Porto 3 bayern munich 1

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